Austin Teen Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

If a teen drinks, drives and causes an accident that harms you, you have the right to hold that teen accountable.

While a prosecutor may press criminal charges against the teen, you can pursue a civil lawsuit that seeks full compensation for your physical, emotional and financial harm.

A person who provided alcohol to the teen driver could also potentially be held liable in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

To learn more about how an Austin car accident lawyer can help you after a teen drunk driving accident, contact Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP.

As the oldest personal injury law firm in Austin, we have extensive experience with handling drunk driving accident claims, including cases that involve teen drivers. We can review your legal rights and all of the options available to you.

What Are Teen Drinking and Driving Laws in Texas?

Texas is a zero-tolerance state. If a person under age 21 drives on a Texas public roadway with any amount of alcohol in his or her system, that person faces serious criminal penalties. Those penalties include:

  • Maximum $500 fine
  • 60-day driver's license suspension
  • 20-40 hours of community service
  • Mandatory alcohol-awareness education.

If the minor is caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, those penalties increase and can include time in jail.

However, despite these potential consequences, teens in Austin and throughout Texas continue to drink and drive, endangering themselves and others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 12.6 percent of Texas high school students who participated in a survey several years ago said they drink and drive - one of the highest percentages in the country.

Every year, between 8-10 percent of the drunk drivers who are killed in crashes on our state's roads are under the age of 21, Texas Department of Transportation figures show.

A lack of maturity and inexperience behind the wheel may explain why a teen causes an alcohol-related crash - but it does not excuse it. Drinking and driving is a choice - a bad one.

If a teen's decision to drink and drive harmed you or your loved one, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. An experienced Austin car accident attorney from our firm will carefully guide you through that process.

Can You Sue a Teen Drunk Driver in Texas?

When you bring a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against a teen driver, you typically do not seek a recovery from the teen's personal assets or those of the teen's family. Instead, pursue a claim through the teen's liability insurance coverage.

You can bring a civil claim regardless of whether the teen was convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). However, a conviction could factor into the potential settlement of your claim.

A teen's violation of the Texas zero-tolerance law can establish negligence per se. In other words, to hold the teen liable, you would not need to establish that the teen was negligent. Instead, you could be entitled to compensation based on proof that the teen violated the law, and this violation caused your injuries or the loss of your loved one.

The attorneys of Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, know how to prepare strong cases for settlement negotiations and, if necessary, for trial. We thoroughly investigate cases and frequently work with accident reconstruction experts.

You can trust us to pursue a full and fair recovery of damages for you that may include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost income and diminishment of future earning ability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death damages (if the crash caused the loss of a loved one)
  • Punitive damages (if appropriate).

You may be eligible for compensation if you were injured as a motorist, pedestrian or bicyclist in Austin. You may also be eligible to pursue a legal claim if you were a passenger in the teen's car.

We will explore all options available to you. Those options may include turning to your own uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance policy.

Can You Sue a Vendor or Social Host for a Teen Drunk Driving Accident?

Our goal at Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, will be to pursue maximum compensation for you. Depending on the facts of your case, we may go beyond the teen driver when seeking that compensation.

If a bar, store, restaurant or other type of vendor sold alcohol to the teen driver who caused your accident, you could seek damages through a "dram shop" claim. In this claim, you must show:

  • The vendor sold the alcohol to a person under age 18; and
  • The furnishing of the alcohol served as the proximate - or foreseeable - cause of the crash that harmed you or your loved one.

If a "social host" provided alcohol to the teen, you could possibly seek damages through a "social host liability" claim. In this type of claim, you would need to show that:

  • A person under age 21 knowingly provided alcohol to the driver, who was under age 18, or allowed the driver to consume alcohol on the person's property;
  • The adult was not the driver's parent, guardian or legal custodian; and
  • The furnishing of the alcohol served as the proximate cause of the accident that injured you or caused the loss of your family member.

Section 2.02 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code provides the legal basis for bringing these types of actions.

Get Help from an Austin Teen Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Today

For more than five decades, car accident victims and their families in Austin have turned to the lawyers of Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP. We strive every day to uphold our firm's tradition of provided skilled and compassionate service to our clients.

If you or a loved one suffered harm at the hands of a teen drunk driver, you can trust us to work hard for you and aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve.

Call or reach us online today to schedule a free consultation about your case.