Across the United States, someone loses their life due to drunk driving accidents every 45 minutes. The problem is particularly bad in Texas, where drunk drivers cause an accident every 20 minutes.
Dram shop laws were introduced in an attempt to reduce the number of intoxicated people behind the wheel in Texas. These laws place potential liability on dram shops, which are venues that sell alcohol that is intended to be drunk on the premises, including bars and restaurants.
Under these laws, if a dram shop serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron and they go on to cause an accident, then the venue itself could be held responsible for any damages caused.
At Abraham Watkins, our law firm has served Texas for over 70 years. Our dram shop liability lawyers are well versed in state and federal law and are prepared to handle even the most complex cases.
We cover the entirety of Texas, including Cinco Ranch, Harris County, Sugar Land, and Houston. We are committed to securing the highest amount of compensation for victims, and our phone lines are open 24/7.
Call us now at 713-535-9319 and arrange a free consultation!
Dram Shop Negligence in Texas
Dram shop laws place third-party liability on dram shops, such as restaurants, bars, and clubs. Under the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, if a venue serves alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated, then they have acted negligently.
Negligence occurs when someone acts differently from how a reasonable person would in the same situation. For example, if a waitress sees a patron staggering and slurring their words but served alcohol to them anyway, they have acted negligently.
If a dram shop serves someone too much alcohol and they go on to drive their car and cause an accident, then the venue could be held liable. If they are, then they could be made to pay for the damages of anyone who suffers losses as a result.
Proving that a dram shop acted negligently in Cinco Ranch, TX, is notoriously difficult. Your best chance at securing compensation through these laws is to contact an attorney with extensive experience navigating dram shop law. That is exactly what you will find at Abraham Watkins.
The Safe Harbor Defense
Serving alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person is an act of negligence. However, if a dram shop has taken certain measures to limit their liability, then they may be able to avoid paying out any damages.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission provides a course that can be given to dram shop employees to teach them about the dangers of overserving alcohol. If the dram shop can prove that they gave their employees this course and did not encourage their staff to overserve alcohol, then they can use the Safe Harbor Defense.
Just because a venue can use the Safe Harbor Defense does not mean you cannot claim compensation. There may be other avenues for you to claim damages, and you should contact an attorney for a free consultation about your individual case.
Do’s and Dont’s After a Drunk Driving Accident in Cinco Ranch
Due to the reckless nature of drunk drivers, the accidents they cause can lead to catastrophic injuries. In order to receive maximum compensation, the steps you take at the scene of the accident are important. If you are unsure, then you can give us a call at any time.
Do Check For Injuries
The first step is to check for injuries. If you feel pain in your back, neck, or head or are struggling to move, stay where you are so that the paramedics can move you safely. Only if you are sure that your injuries are not severe enough to prevent you from moving safely should you check other people for injuries.
Again, be careful about moving anyone if they are not able to do so themselves. If anyone has suffered severe injuries, then contact 911 and wait for the ambulance to arrive.
Don’t Leave The Scene
You are legally required to stay at the scene of any car accident in Texas. If you are able to, then you can move to a place of safety, out of the way of oncoming traffic. However, if you are worried about moving, then it is best to stay put.
Do Call The Police
Texas state law requires police to be called to an accident that involves severe property damage or personal injury. The police play an important role. They will ensure the safety of everyone involved, carry out a blood alcohol test if they suspect intoxicated individuals, and they will complete a police report that will be an essential piece of evidence in your claim.
If the accident was not severe enough for the police to attend the scene, you are still required to inform them. You can do this at your local police station or online.
Do Collect Evidence
When you seek compensation from a negligent party, the more evidence you have against them, the better. If your injuries allow, then you should gather evidence from the scene, including injuries, skid marks, vehicles, and anything else of significance.
You should also find the other drivers’ registration numbers, names, contact information, witnesses’ names, and contact information.
Do Seek Medical Attention
If an ambulance does not attend the scene, you will need to seek a medical examination as soon as possible. Car accidents are frightening and adrenaline could prevent you from feeling even serious injuries. A medical exam will prevent you from inadvertently worsening your injuries, and it will also serve as an important piece of evidence in your case.
It is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible, but no longer than 24 hours after the accident. This will help your attorney prove that your injuries were a direct result of the accident.
Don’t Forget To Contact Your Insurance Company
Your insurance policy is likely to require you to inform them after you have been in an accident. You may have a limited time to do this. Often, you have 24 hours.
It is important to be vague with insurance companies. They are known to try and limit their liability by inadvertently encouraging you to admit fault. Simply inform them that you have been in an accident and if they start asking too many questions, just tell them that your attorney will be in touch.
Hire a Cinco Ranch Dram Shop Attorney
Following a drunk driving accident in Texas, you should speak to a law firm as soon as possible. When you contact Abraham Watkins, we will get to work fast. We will strengthen your claim by collecting CCTV footage, contacting witnesses, and investigating the dram shop.
We will do what it takes to secure the compensation you deserve, whether through a personal injury claim or a dram shop lawsuit. If a settlement figure cannot be agreed upon, then we will take your case to court and fight fiercely on your behalf.
What Damages Can I Claim in a Dram Shop Claim in Cinco Ranch, TX?
One of the most important roles of an attorney is calculating your damages and evidencing a figure that is difficult to fight against. Some damages, such as medical bills, are very difficult to argue with, but other damages, such as those for your emotional anguish, are intangible. However, an attorney will make sure that you are properly compensated and that all of your damages are considered.
If you were left unable to work because of your injuries, then this should be represented in your settlement. It isn’t always as easy as simply calculating the wages you have lost directly. If you are unable to continue with the same work, then you should be compensated for future loss of earnings and the cost of retraining.
Medical bills are notoriously expensive in the United States. As well as your hospital bills, you may also have had to pay out for additional childcare, transport to and from the hospital, and more.
An attorney will ensure that all of this is compensated for and that any future medical expenses are also considered, including ongoing physiotherapy, home adjustments, and more.
Car repair or the cost of replacing your car if it cannot be repaired will be paid for in your settlement. These damages are easily quantifiable. Just make sure that you keep your receipts for everything.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages cover your intangible losses, things like your emotional and physical pain and loss of enjoyment in life. For example, if you can no longer play with your child as you did before the accident, this is likely to cause you emotional distress, and this should be taken into account in your settlement.
Non-economic damages require a skilled dram shop attorney to calculate what you owe and secure what you are entitled to.
When a family loses a loved one at the hands of a drunk driver, it is extremely difficult for them to accept their loss. While no amount of money can change that, it can prevent them from suffering financially as a result.
Compensation for wrongful death will pay for funeral expenses and loss of income to a family household. You may also be able to claim pain and suffering damages for your loss of companionship.
Punitive damages are awarded in some personal injury cases that involve punishing the defendant for their wrongful conduct. They are not granted under dram shop laws but may be awarded in a personal injury case brought against a drunk driver.
Contact a Cinco Ranch, TX Dram Shop Lawyer Today
Dram shops should not serve alcohol to someone who is clearly intoxicated. If they do, they could be held liable for the damages that result. Dram shop laws are complex and difficult to prove, so your best chance at compensation is to seek assistance from an experienced attorney.
At Abraham Watkins, we have over 70 years of experience and are dedicated to securing the maximum amount of compensation for victims.
Whether your case is fairly straightforward and can quickly be resolved with a good settlement, or it requires a long litigation case, we will be prepared to go the distance.
Our law firm works on a no-win-no-fee basis, meaning we take a percentage of your settlement, and if we are unsuccessful, we will not be paid anything. We are so confident in our abilities that we are willing to take on all the risks.Whether you need a Cinco Ranch attorney or a Houston dram shop attorney, arrange a free consultation today at 713-535-9319!
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