DWI Personal Injury Settlements in Texas

If you have been injured by a drunk driver involved in Texas, understanding your rights and potential compensation is essential. DWI personal injury settlements in Texas can vary widely, influenced by the specifics of each case. Partnering with a seasoned DWI attorney in San Antonio can be the key to navigating this complex legal process effectively. 

This blog post explores what victims of DWI accidents in Texas can expect from a personal injury settlement, including key factors that affect the amount of compensation that may be recovered, and the legal nuances involved in DWI accident cases. 

What Is The Average Settlement for a Drunk Driving Accident in Texas?

Texas DWI personal injury settlements can range from moderate sums to cover minor damages, to substantial amounts for more severe cases. While individual results may vary, the average settlement tends to reflect the extent of your physical and property damage, aiming to compensate you for both tangible and intangible losses.

Common factors that can influence the compensation you may receive following a DWI accident in Texas include:

  • The Seriousness of Your Injuries: More severe injuries typically lead to higher compensation to cover extensive medical treatments and long-term care.
  • The Amount of Damage to Your Property: Significant property damage can increase the settlement amount, ensuring the cost to repair or replace your vehicle is fully covered.
  • Are You at Fault? If so, How Much Did You Contribute?: Texas follows a proportionate responsibility rule, which means your compensation could be reduced if you are found partly at fault.
  • The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Coverage: The at-fault driver’s insurance coverage limits play a crucial role in the size of the settlement.

What If You Suffered Injuries?

After being injured in a DWI accident, it is important to take certain steps to ensure that your injuries are properly documented and compensated:

  • Immediate Medical Attention: Seek medical help immediately following the accident, even if you feel fine initially. Some injuries, like internal bleeding or whiplash, might not show symptoms immediately but can have severe long-term effects.
  • Comprehensive Documentation: Ensure that every medical visit, treatment, and diagnosis is thoroughly documented. This includes keeping records of visits to specialists, physical therapy sessions, and any other treatments related to your injuries.
  • Long-Term Care Considerations: Consider the long-term implications of your injuries. If your injuries require ongoing treatment, such as surgery or rehabilitation, these costs should be factored into your settlement. Chronic pain or permanent disability can also affect your ability to work and perform daily activities, which should be adequately compensated.

By thoroughly documenting the medical aspects of your case, you reinforce the legitimacy of your claim, helping ensure that your settlement reflects the true extent of your injuries and the impact they have on your life.

How Important Is Quick Action?

Swift action is critical for securing favorable DWI personal injury settlements in Texas. Quick legal action helps preserve vital evidence such as accident scene photos, witness testimonies, and police reports, which are crucial for substantiating your personal injury claim. 

Additionally, Texas has a statute of limitations that generally limits the time to file a personal injury claim to two years from the date of the accident (Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003). Missing this deadline can result in losing the right to sue. Engaging a skilled DWI attorney early can ensure that all procedural requirements are met, and legal strategies are effectively implemented from the outset. 

How Much Do Lawyers Take from an Accident?

In Texas, attorney fees for personal injury cases generally range between 33% and 39% of the settlement amount. This fee structure is usually contingent, meaning your lawyer only gets paid if they win the case or secure a settlement for you. The actual percentage can vary based on the complexity of the case, the stage of litigation at which the settlement is reached, and any additional expenses incurred during the preparation of the case and court proceedings.

What Happens if You Get in an Accident with a High Blood Alcohol Level?

Being involved in an accident with a high blood alcohol level can have both criminal and civil consequences:

  • Criminal Consequences: If you are found driving under the influence, you face potential criminal charges for DWI. In Texas, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for most drivers is 0.08%. For commercial drivers, the limit is stricter at 0.04%. Texas also has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21, meaning any detectable amount of alcohol in their system can result in a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge. (Texas Penal Code – PENAL § 49.04)
  • Civil Consequences: Having a high blood alcohol level can also severely limit your ability to claim damages. Under Texas law, if you are deemed more than 50% at fault (due to impairment), you may be barred from receiving any compensation. Furthermore, even if you are less than 50% at fault, your compensation can still be proportionally reduced based on your degree of fault. (Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.001

What is the Formula for Personal Injury Settlements?

The formula for calculating DWI personal injury settlements in Texas typically involves adding up all your economic damages and then applying a multiplier for your non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. 

For example:

  1. Calculate your total economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.).
  2. Calculate your pain and suffering, often using a multiplier or a per diem method:
    1. The Multiplier Method: This entails multiplying your actual economic damages by a number typically ranging from 1.5 to 5, depending on the severity and permanence of your injuries. The more severe and life-altering your injuries, the higher the multiplier. 
    2. The “Per diem” Method: This method assigns a daily rate to your pain and suffering, multiplying this rate by the number of days you (the injured person) are expected to suffer or recover.
  3. Add any applicable punitive damages.

This structured approach helps ensure that all factors contributing to your losses are considered in your settlement.

Do You Pay Taxes on a Settlement from a Car Accident?

Generally, compensation received from car accident settlements for physical injuries is not taxable under federal or Texas state law. This includes amounts awarded for medical expenses and pain and suffering related to physical injuries. However, any part of the settlement that represents reimbursement for lost wages (compensating for income lost due to the injury) is taxable as it is considered a replacement for taxable income. 

Additionally, if your settlement includes punitive damages, which are awarded to punish the defendant rather than compensate you, these amounts are also taxable. It is important to consult with a tax professional to accurately determine the tax implications of your specific settlement components and to plan accordingly for any potential tax obligations.

Can I Sue for More than the Defendant’s Insurance Policy Limits?

In Texas, if the defendant’s insurance policy limits are insufficient to cover your damages, you may have the option to sue for more than these limits. This can be particularly relevant in cases involving severe injuries or when the at-fault party’s coverage is inadequate. 

Pursuing additional compensation beyond the policy limits typically requires a thorough evaluation of the defendant’s assets and potential avenues for recovery, as well as the assistance of a qualified attorney. 

Your attorney will understand the devastating impact the DWI accident has had on your life and will be there to support you every step of the way. With the right Texas DWI accident attorney, you can focus on your physical recovery while your attorney handles the legal complexities to secure the compensation you need and deserve.

Austin Office
816 Congress Ave, Suite 950
Austin, Texas 78701

San Antonio Office
700 N St Mary’s St, Suite 1457
San Antonio, Texas 78205