As you probably already know, this year’s NFL Super Bowl game – the fiftieth Super Bowl – features the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos on Sunday, February 7, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Like New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July, Super Bowl Sunday has evolved into one of the nation’s top drinking days, so driving on that day can be much more dangerous than driving on any other “typical” day. According to Forbes magazine, 325 million gallons of beer will be consumed by fans and viewers across the United States on Super Bowl Sunday this year. That’s great news for bars, breweries, and beer retailers, but if you’re driving on Super Bowl Sunday, it’s a frightening statistic.

If you’re driving in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on Super Bowl Sunday, it’s even more frightening, because in 2013, researchers published figures showing that Dallas – between 2001 and 2010 – had the-fifth highest rate of alcohol-related driving fatalities among the country’s 25 largest cities, and Dallas also had the fourth-highest rate of traffic fatalities overall. Those figures are several years old, but one statistic that is reliable year after year is the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths by state. Texas tops that list every year.

A driver in Texas is legally intoxicated if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) level is 0.08 percent or higher. Of course, impaired drivers who cause accidents face serious criminal charges in Texas and every other state, but they can also be held liable for civil damages. If you are injured by an intoxicated driver on Super Bowl Sunday – or any other day of the year – immediately contact a good personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights and options as an accident victim, and in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, contact an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney.

If a driver injures you and registers a BAC level above the legal limit, that test result can be a powerful piece of evidence in your civil personal injury case, and if the driver receives a DUI conviction, that would substantially strengthen your claim. However, to prove that the driver who injured you was in fact liable for your injury, it is not actually necessary to prove that the driver was intoxicated. You can pursue a personal injury lawsuit if you are injured by a driver who was in any way negligent or distracted at the time he or she injured you.

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WHAT CAN YOU DO TO BE SAFER?

On Super Bowl Sunday, your chances of being injured in an accident with an intoxicated driver can be as much as double that of a more typical Sunday in January or February. Even if you are personally not drinking and driving on the day of the big game, other drivers will be impaired, so please use extra caution on the streets and highways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that alcohol was involved in 43 percent of all of the fatal traffic collisions in the United States on Super Bowl Sunday and the morning after in 2012. If you don’t have to travel on the day of the big game, staying at home might not be a bad option. If you do have to travel on Super Bowl Sunday, keep the following safety suggestions in mind:

  1. Police officers will be looking for one thing on Super Bowl Sunday – intoxicated drivers – so they’ll be making a lot more traffic stops than usual. Don’t do anything – like littering – that might attract an officer’s attention. Make sure that your lights, wipers, and brakes are all working properly prior to Super Bowl Sunday.
  2. Look in the distance and get the big driving picture. When you drive at sixty miles per hour, you move the length of a football field in fewer than four seconds. And remember that your driving situation is not only in front of you. You’re in the middle of it. Stay aware of what’s happening in front of you, alongside you, and behind you – at every moment when you’re driving. Keep enough space between your vehicle and the other vehicles so that you can stop or safely swerve to avoid a crash.
  3. Don’t allow any distractions when you drive. Turn off the cell phone – your incoming texts will still be there when you reach your destination. Don’t eat take-out food or apply make-up when you drive. Never try to read. Pull over safely if you need to read a map or a GPS device. And – it should go without saying – don’t drive while intoxicated. Just don’t. It’s not only dangerous, but it’s a crime in every state.
  4. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that underinflated tires cause about 200,000 collisions a year in the U.S., resulting in about 33,000 injuries and about 660 deaths. Check your tire pressure regularly, routinely, and before driving on Super Bowl Sunday. By the time a warning light comes on, your tire is dangerously deflated.
  5. Do not challenge aggressive drivers. Get out of their way. Don’t underestimate an intoxicated driver’s capacity for aggression. Do whatever it takes to keep yourself and your passengers safe, and report egregiously aggressive drivers to 9-1-1.

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WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU’RE INJURED?

Even when you are doing everything right, obeying the law and driving safely, you could still be injured in a traffic accident with a negligent driver. If that happens, you are legally entitled to full reimbursement for all of your medical treatment, days lost from work and other lost income, and all of your additional injury-related expenses, but that reimbursement doesn’t just show up miraculously in your mail. You’ll require the help of a good personal injury lawyer to obtain your compensation, and in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you’ll need to contact an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney as quickly as possible after you’ve been injured and you’ve received medical attention.

If a motorist’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level is 0.08 percent or higher, that driver is legally intoxicated in the state of Texas. If you are in an accident with a drunk driver on Super Bowl Sunday – or at any other time – you need to take several actions immediately:

  1. Seek medical attention and get medical help for anyone else injured in the collision.
  2. Call the police. Be sure that you’ll be able to obtain a copy of the police report.
  3. Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses to the accident.
  4. Obtain the other driver’s contact and insurance information. You have to have it. If the other driver is too injured or intoxicated to cooperate with you, ask the police to help you obtain that information.
  5. Take – or have someone else take – as many pictures as possible of the accident scene, the vehicle damage, the license plates on each vehicle, and your injuries. Sometimes, photographs can make all the difference in a personal injury case.

After any traffic accident, do not confess to anything, do not admit any fault, sign no insurance papers, forms, or documents, and do not speak with an insurance company before you consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. The typical response of most insurance companies is to offer accident victims a settlement amount that is far below what the victim’s personal injury claim will actually be worth. Let your attorney do all of the talking and negotiating. An experienced personal injury lawyer routinely handles these kinds of negotiations, and you probably will not have to go to court. More than ninety percent of personal injury claims are settled in out-of-court negotiations.

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WHERE CAN YOU GET FRANK ADVICE?

An experienced personal injury lawyer will offer you frank, impartial advice based on years of personal injury experience. When you have been injured by another driver’s negligence and you can prove it, whether or not to move forward with your claim is still up to you. You’ll have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of filing a personal injury lawsuit. Let an experienced personal injury attorney explain those advantages and disadvantages, help you to understand how the law applies in your case, and fight for justice on your behalf.

Super Bowl Sundays are great for football fans and especially for fans of the winning team, but Super Bowl Sundays have also been days of tragedy for many people. When tight end Delanie Walker played in the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, his aunt and uncle, Bryan and Alice Young, watched proudly from the stands. Only hours later, Walker learned that the couple had been killed on their way home from the game – by an allegedly impaired driver. Today, Walker works to educate others about the perils of intoxicated driving. “I just want to make people more aware through my story,” Walker says.

Don’t drink and drive. That’s the first and most important safety rule for Super Bowl Sunday, but your own sobriety alone can’t guarantee that you’ll be safe if you’re driving that day. If you are injured by an intoxicated driver, it’s imperative to put a good personal injury attorney on the case as quickly as possible. Evidence can deteriorate or be lost; witnesses’ memories can fade fast. If an impaired driver injures you, speak promptly with an experienced personal injury lawyer, and in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, discuss your legal options with an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney.