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How Texas courts address drunk driving accident fatalities

Sugar Land residents may understand that there are two general types of courts in the state: civil courts and criminal courts. Those two court systems differ with regard to the types of matters they can hear. However, some events such as fatal car accidents can be addressed in both court systems if appropriate charges are lodged against suspected negligent parties.

For example, if a fatal drunk driving accident occurs on a Texas highway, prosecutors who work for the jurisdiction in which the accident occurred may file criminal charges against the responsible party for his actions. Those charges could include driving while intoxicated or vehicular homicide. Criminal charges are punishable with sanctions ranging up to imprisonment.

However, the same suspected negligent party can face civil charges in the state's civil court system. In civil courts, victims of incidents like drunk driving accidents can bring claims against the individuals who cause their damages. Those victims can seek compensation for their quantifiable losses as well as intangible losses such as pain and suffering.

When a Texas resident loses his life in a fatal car accident, his family may have the opportunity to pursue a civil law claim based on his wrongful death. Wrongful death claims are permitted when the acts or omissions of a negligent or reckless person cause the death of another. In Texas, babies who die before they are born are covered by wrongful death law.

Drunk drivers who cause the deaths of others often face civil and criminal charges that develop out of single events. Even though they may be investigated and subjected to prison time, negligent individuals can be held accountable for the financial and emotional turmoil they cause to their victims. Families who have lost loved ones in drunk driving accidents may have rights to pursue their losses through wrongful death claims.

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