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New Texas Law Regarding Drunk Drivers, and will states Like Nevada Follow Suit?

A new Texas law, House Bill 393, which was signed and went into effect on Friday September 1st, requires that those convicted of intoxication manslaughter must pay restitution in what resembles “child support” payments to deceased victims’ children in the event of a DUI accident. The legislation states that the offender will make these payments until the child is eighteen or they graduate high school—whichever one is later. If the person is behind bars and cannot make payments, they will be expected to make the first payment no later than the first anniversary of their release date. Under Texas law, intoxicated manslaughter constitutes a person operating any motor vehicle in public spaces while intoxicated, which causes the death of another, by accident or by mistake—so in other words a DUI resulting in death. Governor Abbot stated when he signed the law that he hoped HB 393 could offer some form of reparation to the children of the victims. [1]

Will States like Nevada Adopt Similar Laws?

While a similar law has yet to be introduced in Nevada, it is possible, considering the state has seen many high-profile DUI cases in recent years—including the accident and conviction of former Las Vegas Raiders’ Henry Ruggs for two counts of driving under the influence (DUI) causing death or substantial harm.

While direct compensation for the victims’ children is not available currently in Nevada, it does not mean you cannot be compensated for the bills incurred, pain and suffering, etc. from a DUI accident. One course of remediation is the Nevada Victim of Crime Program (VOCP). The VOCP aims to aid Nevadans and their families who sustained serious physical injuries or death as a result of a violent crime, under which drunk driving accidents qualify. To qualify for VOCP funds you must be able to prove the following:

  • You contacted police and other proper authorities within five days of the accident, unless you were physically/mentally unable to do so.
  • You are submitting your application to VOCP within a year of when the crash took place.
  • You cooperated or are actively cooperating with a police investigation of the accident
  • You are willing to cooperate with the Victims of Crime Program [2]

VOCP funding can help you receive up to $35,000 which can be used to pay expenses incurred because of the DUI crash. These expenses can be for medical bills, counseling, lost wages, funeral expenses, insurance co-pay, and prescriptions. VOCP funding can also be used to compensate right to support, which directly impacts any dependents of a loved one who is killed in a DUI accident, somewhat like the Texas law mentioned earlier.

While VOCP funds are a wonderful resource, their funds do not cover property damage, damages covered by your insurance company, or compensation for your pain and suffering resulting from a crash. This is why it is important to contact an injury lawyer who can help you obtain more comprehensive compensation for pain and suffering, and Under Nevada law, if it has been proven that a driver who caused the motor vehicle accident was under the influence, then a plaintiff can seek punitive damages [3]

In Nevada, a personal injury lawyer can help the driver, or the family of the victim deceased in a DUI accident prove that the defendant was negligent while under the influence, and directly responsible for the accident and related damages. Your attorney will establish the defendant’s “duty of care” to the victim, as well as demonstrate how that duty of care was broken. Hiring a personal injury lawyer in Nevada also means that you will have a qualified and knowledgeable person on your side during this difficult time, and they can assist you in taking the proper steps right for your case. They can better assess and ensure the compensation you receive is comprehensive and representative of all damages, as well as pain and suffering that resulted from the DUI crash. This also means you can focus on healing and getting your life back on track. [4]





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