In Louisiana, Rebekah Bowers Sanders and her husband know well the suffering that drunk drivers can inflict on others. In 2015, a drunk driver severely injured Sanders and her husband near Paris, Texas, as they were driving to Tulsa for her sister’s wedding.

They never arrived.

Instead, they suffered combined rib, limb, eye socket, wrist, shoulder, hip, and ankle injuries. “I have yet to regain the vision in my right eye, and it is extremely unlikely that I will ever see out of it again. I will never get to look over my shoulder at my children playing in the backseat of the car,” Rebekah Bowers Sanders told KLFY News.

Jada Benge was thirty-three when a teenage drunk driver ended her life in Monterey County, California. Her three young daughters and her husband, Michael, were also severely injured.

Michael wrote these words several years ago for the Bakersfield Californian: “Today is the ninth anniversary of our wreck on May 29, 2004. We have learned to live one day at a time and to live by faith. But, because of the arrogance and selfishness of others, every day, every holiday, every memorable moment is bittersweet.”

The girls were eight, nine, and twelve years of age when a complete stranger took their mother’s life back in 2004.

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WHAT ARE THE DUI STATISTICS?

The survivors are lucky in at least one way, because drunk drivers take thousands of innocent lives on this nation’s streets and highways every year.

The drunk driving statistics in Texas are a genuine cause for concern. In 2014 in the state of Texas alone, 566 drivers, passengers, and innocent pedestrians were killed in alcohol-related vehicle accidents, and more than 3,800 people sustained confirmed injuries in those traffic collisions.

Nationally, over 250,000 of us are injured every year by drunk drivers, and far too many of those injuries result in long-term or permanent disability.

For many people, just one drink is enough to at least mildly impair their driving skills and reaction times.

In all fifty states, driving under the influence is considered and treated as a serious crime. In some states it’s called driving while intoxicated, but it’s the same crime. Also in every state, the “legal limit” for a driver is a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent – almost half of what the limit was in most states forty years ago.

DUI law is often controversial. Some want tougher laws and more enforcement. Others insist that driving under the influence laws are unfair and should be eased or reformed. But everyone agrees that in the most tragic cases, the victims of drunk drivers are the people who pay the dearest penalties.

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WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR DUI?

The financial damage caused by impaired drivers in the United States costs us over $50 billion a year.

In every state, the courts punish drivers convicted of driving under the influence. Penalties include jail and in some cases prison terms, fines, probation, suspended driver’s licenses, and more, but that’s only one side of the justice system.

If you or someone in your family is injured by a drunk driver, you can also seek compensation and justice by filing a personal injury claim. In many cases, you won’t even have to go to court. Most personal injury claims are settled out of court by the attorneys for both sides through pre-trial negotiations.

While no attorney can ever guarantee or promise any specific result in any specific case, if your injuries are visible – and if the driver who injured you failed a DUI test or received a conviction for driving under the influence – the chances are quite good that your personal injury claim will succeed.

The law in Texas entitles personal injury victims to complete compensation for their lost wages, their full medical treatment, and all additional injury-related expenses and losses caused by drunk drivers.

If you are the victim of an intoxicated driver, seek medical help at once, and after you have obtained medical attention, discuss your rights and legal options – which might include a personal injury lawsuit – with a good personal injury lawyer, and in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney.

If you choose to pursue an injury claim, you will need an injury attorney who can prove that a particular driver injured you in a particular accident and that you were not injured in some other accident in some other way.

You do not have to prove that the other driver was drunk, but you must prove the driver was negligent. You will also have to prove how seriously you were injured – and explain your prospects for recovery – so that a precise dollar amount can be claimed.

A good personal injury attorney will evaluate the facts, question the witnesses, examine the evidence, and fight vigorously on your behalf for the compensation you need and the justice that you genuinely deserve.

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AFTER AN ACCIDENT, WHERE CAN YOU TURN?

Your attorney will investigate the facts of the case, compile and examine the evidence, question witnesses on your behalf, and call on medical and accident reconstruction experts if necessary to win the reimbursement and justice that every innocent victim of drunk driving needs and deserves.

It is imperative for you to cooperate and to be completely honest with your personal injury attorney, and it’s also just as important to put your attorney on the case as quickly as you can. Eyewitnesses forget over time, and evidence must be examined at once.

If a drunk driver injures you, do not wait – instead, take action. Make the call to a good personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible.

Clearly, however, if a family’s life has been tragically changed forever by a drunk driver, no sum of money obtained through a personal injury settlement or verdict can keep that family from paying a different kind of price.

Some losses can’t be replaced, and some damages cannot be repaired. Drunk driving’s most tragic results are also permanent results. Amputations, traumatic brain injuries, disfigurement, and spinal cord damage are just a few of the injuries that can be the permanent consequence of driving under the influence. Drunk drivers are the reason thousands of people in Texas and across this country are disabled, can’t work, and may even need help with basic daily tasks.

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HOW DO VICTIMS SUFFER?

Time doesn’t really heal all wounds, and when drunk drivers change victims’ lives, the emotional wounds sometimes simply do not heal.

The most egregiously-injured victims – brain injury victims, amputees, and the permanently disabled – struggle with legitimate and real psychological obstacles; feelings of fear, alienation, and depression.

The sudden loss of a spouse or child – or being suddenly disabled – is not easy for anyone, particularly if it happens suddenly and for no good reason through the negligence of a drunk driver. Injury victims have lost jobs and even marriages in the course of these struggles.

In courtrooms across the United States, drunk drivers are convicted and punished for their crimes, but apart from the legal system, the victims of drunk driving are the people who suffer the punishments for drunk driving.

Medical research may even be confirming the often-repeated “urban myth” that drunk drivers suffer fewer and less severe injuries than their victims suffer.

At the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), a team of researchers has found statistical evidence that a high blood alcohol content level boosts an accident victim’s ability to survive a serious vehicle collision.

The drunker you are in a crash, in other words, the more likely you are to survive and to escape without serious injury. Lee Friedman, a UIC assistant professor and the research study’s author, adds that, “After an injury, if you are intoxicated there seems to be a pretty substantial protective effect.”

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AFTER AN ACCIDENT, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

When an accident happens, seek medical treatment immediately. If you do not feel like you’re hurt and you don’t think that you have been injured, be on the safe side and seek medical attention anyway.

If you are not injured, you will know for sure, and if you are, you’ve protected your health and your legal rights – in case you decide to file a claim after consulting with a personal injury attorney. Call the police so that they can write an accident report, and if necessary, clear debris and direct traffic.

Get the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information, and if there are other eyewitnesses, get their names and contact information too. Take photographs of the crash and your injuries, or have someone take them, and keep copies of all of your injury-related medical bills, test results, and other key documents.

Obviously, money cannot compensate for the consequences of drunk driving and the losses that drunk drivers cause. Still, you should let a personal injury lawyer help you win the compensation that can help you obtain the care and rehabilitation that you need after a serious injury – and the resources to pay for it.

Do not hesitate to fight for your rights and for the compensation you deserve. If you are injured by a drunk driver, consult at once with a personal injury lawyer, and in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney as quickly as possible.