Across the state of Texas, there is a drunk driving accident every 20 minutes. That is a staggering number, one that Texas is attempting to curb.
In particular, Texas has an unusually high number of accidents that result from the overserving of alcohol by the state’s many dram shops. A dram shop is any venue that serves alcohol for consumption on the premises. This includes bars, restaurants, and clubs.
In 1986, new laws were introduced known as dram shop liability laws. These laws were designed to place more responsibility on the owners of clubs, bars, and restaurants. This covers the entirety of Texas, including Humble, TX.
Under those laws, if a venue serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person, and that person is allowed to enter their car unchallenged and drive off, the venue can be found liable for the damages that the customer causes in a drunk driving accident on their journey.
Nobody deserves to lose a loved one or have their lives drastically changed forever as the result of a drunk driving accident and every single year there are many fatalities that result from people drinking too much and getting behind the wheel.
If you have lost a loved one to a drunk driving accident in Humble, TX, or you have been injured through no fault of your own, you are entitled to seek compensation for your damages under Texas dram shop law.
Serving Texas for over 70 years the team here at Abraham Watkins has extensive experience in dealing with cases involving drunk drivers and personal injury. As one of the longest-serving law firms in the state, we have dealt with and won favorable outcomes in numerous cases just like yours.
We know how to build your case in a way that allows you to seek full and fair compensation owed to you for your damages.
Our phone lines are always manned, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so give us a call at 713-535-9319 and arrange a free consultation today!
Humble Dram Shop Liability Explained
When we talk about dram shop liability, we refer to the legal responsibility placed on owners of dram shops. This includes bars, clubs, and restaurants. Under dram shop liability laws, if a venue overserves an obviously intoxicated person, this is negligent behavior.
Negligent behavior is any behavior that is seen to be different from what a reasonable person would be expected to do in the same situation. If your bartender sees a patron staggering around the venue and serves them more alcoholic beverages where a reasonable bartender would probably refuse service, this is negligence.
If a personal injury attorney can uncover negligent behavior, they can then assign liability. This is because every dram shop has a duty of care to its customers.
Do I Have a Dram Shop Case in Texas?
If you are wondering whether you have a dram shop case following an accident with a drunk driver in Humble, TX, your best option is to get in touch with a skilled personal injury law firm, one that deals with dram shop law and DUI cases every day.
With their help, you will need to be able to prove that the person responsible had in fact been drinking at a venue that can be held liable under dram shop liability laws. They will also help you prove that the venue should have refused service to them and that by failing to do so, they acted negligently.
If you and your attorney can prove that this is the case then you will have grounds for a claim under Humble, TX dram shop laws.
What to Do After a DUI Accident in Humble, TX
In the aftermath of a car accident, your actions are immensely important. There are certain things you should and shouldn’t do in order to maximize your chances of seeking full and maximum compensation for your damages suffered.
In the heat of the moment, the chaos that follows a car accident can be overwhelming and it is common for victims to go into shock.
Here are some things to try and remember if you ever find yourself in the aftermath of an accident involving a drunk driver and want to ensure you have the best chances of success in a dram shop claim.
Stay on the Scene
You must stay on the scene if you have been involved in an auto accident, especially if the accident was caused by a driver who you believe was under the influence. However, if you are still in danger, i.e from oncoming traffic, move to a place of safety.
Is Anyone Injured?
If you know you have hit your head or you can feel neck pain or back pain, you need to remain where you are and wait for help. If someone tries to move you, inform them that you think you have neck or spinal damage and that they should wait until the ambulance team turns up before moving you.
If you are confident that you do not have any serious injuries, check yourself for minor injuries like lacerations, burns, or broken bones.
Call an Ambulance
It doesn’t matter how insignificant the injuries seem, it is always best if you call for an ambulance. The sooner you do this the better. Often injuries can lay hidden, such as internal bleeding and if they are not diagnosed quickly then they could end up being serious later on down the line.
If you receive medical attention on the scene of the accident, it will also count as your first recorded instance of medical attention on the medical timeline your attorney will use to add up and calculate your medical bills.
Finally, there will be a report for the accident that is filed by the ambulance team and this report can be used later on down the line by your attorney as unbiased evidence.
Call for Police Assistance
You should always call the police at the scene of a drunk driving accident. Firstly, so they can make everyone involved safe by moving oncoming traffic and arranging for the roads to be cleared.
Secondly, if there is a drunk driver involved in your accident, the police will be able to administer a blood alcohol test. This is crucial evidence and you will need the results if you want to pursue a dram shop liability claim against an intoxicated person and the venue they were drinking at.
In personal injury cases, the more evidence you can provide and the more evidence that your attorney can uncover, the stronger your chances of a successful case. This means that the more evidence you can collect at the scene of the accident the better.
If your injuries allow, you should take photos and videos of the accident scene, capturing as many details as possible. Photos of the road marking, cars involved, injuries and damages are all useful.
Go to the Hospital
It is a good idea to head to your nearest hospital and get a check-up, even if you did not need medical attention from the ambulance team at the scene of the accident. This will serve as your first recorded medical attention and will ensure you do not have any hidden injuries.
Remember to keep hold of all your receipts, including things like taxi journeys.
Notify your Insurance Company
It is a smart idea to inform your insurance company as soon as physically possible. This will ensure that you can get assistance with your medical costs. However, you need to remember that the less you say to them the better.
Your best option is to inform them you have been in an accident and that your attorney will be dealing with all correspondence going forward from this point.
Hire a DUI Accident Lawyer
When you have made sure your health has been addressed, your next move, if you haven’t already, should be to get in touch with a reputable law firm, one that deals with DUI, dram shop liability, and personal injury cases.
The sooner that you get in touch, the sooner they can begin investigating on your behalf. They might employ crash re-enactment specialists, send investigators to the scene, and will contact your witnesses on your behalf.
They will also take over the tedious aspects of your case. They will ensure paperwork is filed and on time, speak to the other party’s insurance company, and will begin building your case and calculating your damages.
Dram Shop Injuries
With the drastic and severe effect that alcohol has on the central nervous system, drunk driving comes with a massively increased risk of causing an accident.
When under the influence of alcohol, drivers will have reduced judgment and slower reaction times, as well as an increased chance of falling asleep.
This means that when a hazard appears, there is a good chance they will spot it late or won’t spot it at all. This means the driver will not react in time to avoid the hazard, will not apply the brakes, and will not be able to control the car in order to avoid the accident.
When this happens, the car is usually traveling at a higher speed, and in a head-on direction, the result is a more devastating accident that is much more likely to claim a life or seriously injure a victim.
Who Is Able to Claim in a Humble Dram Shop Liability Case?
If you have been in an accident caused by a driver leaving a dram shop intoxicated, there is a strong chance that you have a right to seek compensation for any injuries, fatalities, and damages. Your best option is to seek the advice of a skilled dram shop liability lawyer. They will be able to evaluate your case and inform you if they think you have grounds for a claim.
When is a Venue Liable for Overserving Alcohol to an Intoxicated Person in Texas?
The Texas Dram Shop Act states that any sellers of alcohol must not serve alcohol to a customer who is obviously already intoxicated. This means they could be found liable if:
- It is clear that the customer was intoxicated to the level that they could have been a danger to themselves or others.
- The intoxicated individual went on to cause the damages.
The Safe Harbor Defense to Dram Shop Liability
Employers have measures they can take in order to reduce their liability through what is known as the Safe Harbor Defense. There are certain requirements to this, primarily:
- They must be able to prove that they gave their employees the specially designed 2-hour course created by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. This course was designed to raise awareness and educate bartenders on the dangers of overserving alcohol.
- The employer must not have encouraged or coerced the employee who served the alcohol to serve them when they were trying to refuse service.
If the employer can show that the bartender had received this course from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the employer did not coerce or encourage their overserving of the patron, the employer may use the Safe Harbor Defense, under 106.14 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
Who Bears the Burden of Proof on the Safe Harbor Defense?
If they are intending to use the Safe Harbor Defense, then an employer must be able to provide evidence that their employee has taken the course. The employee, in turn, may attempt to prove they have not received the course, or that they were encouraged by the employer to serve the patron when they would not have normally.
What Is the Average Settlement for Dram Shop Claims in Humble, TX?
When it comes to a personal injury case that involves multiple damages, each and every settlement will be unique. In every case, there will be different factors that influence the settlement figure and it will require a skilled attorney in order to work them out accurately.
The value of a settlement will depend heavily upon the severity of injuries and property damage, medical bills, how much future medical expenses could be, the impact on daily life, how clear liability is, and the age of the victim.
With all of these factors, there will either be a physical number attached, like the cost for a medical procedure or the repair of a car, or there will not be a physical cost attached. For those damages, your attorney will need to work out what they believe the damages to be worth.
Most damages that do not have a physical number attached are known as pain and suffering damages and these damages are the ones that you will want a skilled attorney to look at in order to maximize. The more experience the attorney has in dealing with cases like yours, the better they will be able to calculate your damages in a way that is hard to dispute.
Once they have calculated your damages, they will send the settlement figure they believe to be fair to the other party. At this point, if your attorney has done a good job of calculating a fair and reasonable settlement figure, the other party may choose to accept.
If they do not accept, your attorney could take your case to court, convincing the judge that you deserve what you are seeking.
Call a Humble Dram Shop Attorney
When it comes to dram shop liability laws, your best option is always going to be to employ a skilled and reputable attorney who has experience and knowledge on the subject.
To seek compensation for wrongful death or a serious injury under the laws of the state is a complex process and without the right law firm representing you, you may struggle to win what you deserve or even win your case at all.
Call Abraham Watkins Today!
When it comes to making a personal injury claim, you are going to need a law firm that you can trust. At Abraham Watkins, we have been fighting for what is just and right for our clients for over 70 years.
As one of the longest-serving firms in the entire state, we have built a stellar reputation through our wins and incredible approach to the attorney-client relationship.
We pride ourselves on our ability to win cases and obtain favorable outcomes for our clients, no matter how complex the case.
We can strive for quick settlement if your case is clear-cut and simple but we are also prepared to go the distance and fight aggressively, without rest, for clients in more complex situations.
No matter how simple or complex your case may seem, it is always in your best interests to contact us as soon as you can after your accident. This will allow us more time and give us a better chance at discovering evidence that will enable us to build a case on your behalf that is incredibly difficult to defeat.
Call Abraham Watkins today and seek the compensation you deserve. Our phone lines are manned around the clock, call us at 713-535-9319!
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