In an attempt to curb the number of fatalities caused by drunken drivers across the state, Texas introduced a set of regulations known as dram shop liability laws.
With the growing number of fatalities that occur from DUI accidents every year, drunken patrons need to be challenged if they attempt to get into a vehicle whilst visibly intoxicated and should be refused service.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a drunk driver in Cloverleaf, TX, you are entitled to seek compensation under Texas dram shop laws for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and property damage.
At Abraham Watkins, we have dealt with numerous clients in the tragic aftermath of drunk driving accidents. We have seen the emotional and physical trauma that these accidents can cause and we want you to know that we can help.
We have served Cloverleaf, TX, and the rest of the state of Texas for over 70 years since we opened our doors in 1951. We have won numerous cases and have a long list of happy and pleased clients.
We have won both favorable settlements for relatively straightforward cases and have fought aggressively in long complex court cases. We will do whatever we believe necessary to win the results you deserve.
We pride ourselves on our attorney-client relationship, which is one of the reasons our phone lines are always staffed, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Give us a call at 713-535-9319 and arrange a free consultation today!
Cloverleaf Dram Shop Liability Explained
When we talk about dram shop liability, we are talking about the legal responsibility placed upon dram shops in the state of Texas.
Any business in Cloverleaf, TX that serves alcoholic beverages to patrons and then allows them to drink on the premise is classified as a dram shop and therefore has a duty of care to its customers. This duty of care means that bartenders should refuse the sale of alcohol to any patron that appears to be visibly intoxicated. This does not apply to liquor stores.
If they decided to serve a visibly intoxicated person and that person then goes on to cause an accident, such as a car accident, then the venue may be liable under dram shop laws. A dram shop claim can be raised if the victim believes the venue acted with negligence.
For a venue to be negligent, they need to have acted in a way that a reasonable venue would not have acted in the same situation. If they served someone where another venue would not have, they have acted with negligence.
Do I Have a Dram Shop Case?
Under Cloverleaf dram shop law, you will need to prove with evidence:
- The person who caused the accident was served alcoholic beverages at a venue that is governed by dram shop law.
- That the venue served an obviously intoxicated person when they should not have.
- That the intoxicated person was then allowed to enter their vehicle unchallenged and went on to cause the accident you were involved in.
Dram Shop Injuries
Drunk driving accidents come with a higher chance of fatality and serious, life-changing injuries compared to the average car accident. Alcohol is a depressive drug that reduces your reaction times and clouds your judgment.
This is a catastrophic pairing of effects. Drunk drivers are less likely to spot a hazard, and less likely to make smart emergency evasive procedures. In many instances, they do not even slam their brakes on.
The results are usually a more direct collision, with one vehicle traveling at a much higher speed. This means that dram shop liability cases and DUI accident cases often involve the wrongful death of a loved one or injuries that can drastically change the lives of those involved.
Who Can Claim in a Dram Shop Liability Case in Cloverleaf?
If a drunk driving accident involves a driver who was traveling from a dram shop, it stands to reason that they may have been overserved alcohol at that venue. If you have reason to believe that this is the case, then you have the right to seek the help of a dram shop lawyer who can investigate on your behalf.
If they can unearth evidence that the venue knowingly served a patron that was overly intoxicated, then they may be liable for the damages their patron caused in the drunk driving accident. This means you may be entitled to compensation via a dram shop lawsuit or settlement.
Victims can include:
- Other drivers.
- Passengers in either car.
- The family of anyone killed.
- In rare cases, the intoxicated driver themselves.
Steps You Should Take After a DUI Accident
If you are ever unfortunate enough to find yourself in the aftermath of an accident involving a drunk driver:
Do not leave the scene
You should always stay on the scene of the accident, especially if it was caused by a drunk driver. However, you should make sure you move to safety if you are able to.
Check for injuries
If you have hit your head, or feel pain in the neck or spine, stay still and do not move. Wait for the emergency services. If you are able, check yourself for injuries.
Call an ambulance if there are injuries
It doesn’t matter how small the injuries may seem, we recommend you call an ambulance if there are any. Sometimes internal bleeding and other hidden injuries can have no outward symptoms and this can mean they go unnoticed. Furthermore, in order to file a successful claim, you will need to have sought medical attention following the accident, and the medical report will become evidence in your case.
Call the police
Calling the police is always the best route to take. They will ensure the accident scene is made safe for other road users. They will deal with the drunken individual, administering a blood alcohol test that will become crucial evidence. They will also file an accident report, another important piece of evidence.
If your injuries allow you to move around, taking some videos and pictures of the accident scene can be a smart idea. Fresh evidence from immediately after the accident is always extremely useful when it comes to a personal injury claim. It can also be a smart idea to write a brief statement or draw the accident scene.
Witnesses always prove to be more reliable the more details about them you gather. If you are in a position to talk to them, make sure you get their names, email addresses, phone numbers, and addresses if possible. Even better, if you could collect a small statement from them about what they saw happen, this will be really useful later on down the line.
Go to the hospital
If you did not need medical attention at the scene of the accident then we still highly recommend that you make it your priority to make your way to your chosen healthcare provider for a check-up. Sometimes injuries can lie hidden, especially internal bleeding and you will want to ensure that you do not let them go untreated. This will also serve as the first documented medical attention. When your attorney is forming a timeline of your medical bills and treatment, the sooner after the accident you received medical attention the better.
Hire a Cloverleaf Dram Shop Lawyer
Dram shop liability cases, like other personal injury cases, are always time-sensitive. Our clients who receive the maximum payout with the highest chances of success are the ones that contact us immediately after the accident. This allows us to investigate when the accident is still fresh, reducing the chances of evidence going missing, receipts being thrown away and CCTV being deleted. Your attorney will also take over all the hard work, like filing paperwork on time and liaising with the other parties.
When is a Dram Shop Liable for Overserving Alcohol to an Intoxicated Patron in Cloverleaf, Texas?
Under Texas’s Dram Shop Act, anyone that sells alcohol for consumption on their premises, must refuse service to anyone that is clearly, overly intoxicated.
Dram shops must not serve alcohol to a customer who is obviously intoxicated. Under these guidelines, a seller of alcohol is responsible for overserving a client under the following conditions:
- 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.
What is the Safe Harbor Defense to Dram Shop Liability?
In order to protect themselves from liability, venues in Texas can implement certain measures that allow them to use a specialized defense against dram shop claims. This defense is called the Safe Harbor Defense.
Any premises serving alcohol can give their employees a two-hour training course. This course, created by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is designed to improve alcohol serving and awareness among bartenders and prevent the overserving of alcoholic beverages.
An employer must be able to prove that the bartender who served the customers, received this training and sat through the course. They must also be able to prove that they did not coerce the employee into serving the customer when the bartender would have refused service.
For more on the Harbor Defense, refer to 106.14 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
Who Bears the Burden of Proof on the Safe Harbor Defense?
In any dram shop liability case employers need proof and evidence that they have given their bartenders the TABC safety course. It is their responsibility to document the training and keep records.
What Is the Average Settlement for Dram Shop Claims in Cloverleaf, TX?
Personal injury cases vary massively from case to case. The situations and circumstances that lead to your accident, will be different from everyone else’s. There will be different levels of negligence, different decisions, and different levels of damages. All of these factors will play a massive role in the level of settlement or compensation that you receive.
The biggest factors will be:
- The severity of the injuries.
- How costly medical bills are.
- Past and potential future medical expenses.
- The fault.
- The age of the injured victim.
- How much the accident has impacted your day-to-day life.
First, the quantifiable costs will be added up. This includes your medical bills and property damages. There are physical tangible costs attached to these.
Next, your attorney will look at your pain and suffering damages. These damages account for your emotional and mental trauma. These costs will not have a physical number attached to them, which makes it instrumental that you have an attorney with experience, to calculate them for you.
Your attorney will know what your pain and suffering damages are worth and will calculate a fair and reasonable number for them. This will make the settlement figure they come up with, harder to dispute. This makes it more likely that it will be accepted by the other parties’ insurance companies and harder to dispute in court if it goes that far.
Call a Dram Shop Attorney
Texas has a lot of complex and tricky-to-navigate regulations surrounding both personal injury and dram shop cases. For the best chances of seeking and successfully receiving the maximum compensation that may be on offer to you, you should seek the help of a law firm that is staffed with skilled attorneys, experienced in DUI and dram shop liability cases.
Call Abraham Watkins Today!
Abraham Watkins is one of the longest-serving law firms in the state. We haven’t been around for 70 years without developing an unrivaled pool of knowledge and a long list of wins and happy clients.
We pride ourselves on our ability to secure favorable outcomes for our clients. This means we know how to strike fast and achieve fair and reasonable settlement figures in simple cases. It also means we are ready to dig in and fight aggressively in court for the more complex cases.
The sooner after your accident you get in touch with us the sooner we can begin building your case, investigating on your behalf, and creating space for you to focus on your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
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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