After a drunk driver accident, victims are often left with serious injuries that have an enormous impact on their lives. Mounting medical bills paired with an inability to work can leave people feeling vulnerable and frustrated.
You deserve compensation for your suffering, and that compensation can come from several places. It could come from the at-fault party’s insurance, and/or you may be able to claim from the venue that served alcohol to the drunk driver via a dram shop claim.
To do so, you need guidance from an experienced dram shop lawyer. Abraham Watkins has practiced personal injury law for over 70 years, making us one of the longest-serving law firms in Texas. We are prepared to fight for the highest amount of compensation in your case, whatever it takes.
Texas Dram Shop Laws
Dram shops are venues that serve alcohol. In accordance with The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code and the Texas Dram Shop Act, dram shops have a duty of care to their patrons. This means that if someone is obviously intoxicated, they should refuse service.
If a dram shop overserves alcohol and that patron goes on to drive their car and causes an accident, then the dram shop could be liable for damages.
Examples of dram shop violations include:
- Encouraging an intoxicated person to keep drinking.
- Overserving alcohol to the point that it creates a substantial risk of death.
- Serving alcohol to an intoxicated person.
- Selling alcohol after hours or without a license.
- Allowing someone to leave a dram shop and get in their vehicle if they were a clear danger.
- Serving alcohol to someone under the legal drinking age of 21.
Who Can Claim Damages Under Texas Dram Shop Law in Richmond, TX?
If you are unsure whether you qualify for a dram shop claim, then you should contact a Richmond, TX dram shop lawyer at Abraham Watkins as soon as possible. In a free consultation, we will review your case and advise you on your next steps.
People who can claim damages under Texas dram shop law include:
- Victims of drunk driving accidents if the drunk driver was overserved alcohol in a dram shop.
- Owners of property damaged in the accident.
- Family members of someone who died in a drunk driving accident.
- Sometimes the drunk driver themselves, but usually only if they are under 21.
Defenses To Dram Shop Liability
If a dram shop serves alcohol to someone who is clearly intoxicated, then they have acted negligently. In order to prove negligence and, therefore, liability, your Richmond dram shop attorney will look to prove that the person serving alcohol behaved differently from how a reasonable person should have acted. For example, a reasonable bartender would not serve alcohol to someone who is slurring their words and swaying when they walk.
Most dram shops will have liquor liability insurance designed to cover them in case a dram shop liability claim is ever brought against them. There are also steps they can take to try and limit their liability all together.
Safe Harbor Defense
Dram Shops in Richmond must abide by the rules of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). The TABC also provides training venues can choose to give their staff. If the staff are up to date on this training then they may be able to use this as a defense against liability, known as the ‘Safe Harbor Defense’.
However, they must be able to prove their staff took the training, and that their staff were not encouraged to keep serving alcohol to intoxicated patrons.
Seeking Compensation in a Richmond Dram Shop Claim
The most important role of your dram shop attorney is to fight for a fair settlement in your case. Insurance companies have a team of attorneys who will fight to limit the amount of money they have to pay out. While certain damages are easily evidenced, such as medical bills, others such as your emotional suffering are harder to prove. With an experienced dram shop lawyer, you can pursue what you are owed.
After a drunk driving accident, your vehicle will most likely need repairing or even replacing completely. Other property may have also been damaged, such as a phone or laptop. Keep receipts for all of your expenses, as these should be reimbursed to you.
If you were seriously injured, you might have had no choice but to miss work, resulting in lost wages. This can be incredibly frustrating when your expenses are mounting up, and you don’t have the same income coming in. Fortunately, you are entitled to claim your lost wages, as well as lost earning potential, if you are left unable to return to work.
All of your medical expenses should be reflected in your settlement. Not only your hospital bills but also expenses such as transport to and from the hospital, ongoing physiotherapy costs, future medical care, home adjustments, and more. Make sure you keep a record of all costs related to your recovery.
Pain and Suffering
Although compensating you for your quantifiable expenses is important, so too are your non-economic damages. Such as the degree of emotional and physical pain you are suffering and loss of enjoyment in your life. You could be anxious to drive, you may be unable to carry your child or participate in activities you once enjoyed. All of this should be reflected in your settlement, and your personal injury lawyer will know how to fight for what you deserve.
Nothing is as painful as losing someone we love, and no amount of money can ever begin to make up for your suffering. However, you should not have to suffer financially after losing a loved one because of someone else’s negligence.
At Abraham Watkins, we understand the care and dedication your case requires. We will fight for your right to seek compensation for their funeral expenses, loss of income to your family household, and your pain and suffering.
Punitive damages are designed to punish someone for acting intentionally, recklessly or with gross negligence. They are sometimes awarded by a judge following drunk driving accidents where the driver is found liable. However, you cannot claim punitive damages from a dram shop.
What Do I Do After A Drunk Driving Accident in Richmond, TX?
Drunk drivers are responsible for thousands of accidents across the United States and it is essential that victims take the right steps to protect their rights to compensation. If you need guidance, then our phone lines are open 24/7.
Is Anyone Seriously Injured?
Your first step is to check yourself for serious injuries. If you struggle to move or feel significant pain, then stay where you are and wait for paramedics to help you. Only if you are safe to do so should you check others for injuries, and call 911 if needed.
Don’t Leave The Scene of The Accident
After an accident in Texas, you must not leave the scene, other than to move out of the way of any dangers such as oncoming traffic. You need to stay until the police tell you that you can leave (if they are called), or until you have exchanged all the necessary information with the other parties involved.
Contact The Police
State law means that police must be called to the scene of an accident that caused injury or property damage exceeding $1000. However, regardless of the severity of the accident, if someone is driving under the influence, then the police should be called; this may protect others from a more serious accident.
The police officer will complete a report that will become important evidence in your case. If they suspect a drunk driver, they will also carry out a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test.
If your injuries do not prevent you from collecting evidence then you should take photos of the scene, injuries, and anything else that could be important. You should also exchange information with other drivers (including name, contact information, and car registration), and any potential witnesses.
Seek a Medical Examination
If you don’t receive medical attention at the scene of the accident, then you should seek medical care as soon as possible. You may have injuries that are masked by adrenaline, and you don’t want to do anything to make your condition more serious.
Your medical record will also be essential to your dram shop claim, it evidences your injuries, and the closer to the accident you get checked, the easier it will be to prove that the accident directly caused your injuries.
Call Your Car Insurance Company
Your car insurance policy may require you to inform them that you have been in a car accident within a limited amount of time.
However, when you do speak to them, just stick to the bare facts of your case. Don’t admit any degree of fault or tell them you are feeling ok. Remember, insurance companies are big businesses, and their goal is profit. Do not give them any reason to reduce what they could pay you.
When you secure representation, your attorney will take over correspondence with the insurance company. That way, you don’t have to worry.
Hire a Richmond Dram Shop Attorney
To maximize your chance of compensation, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. You have a limited time to make a claim, and when you act quickly, important evidence such as CCTV, mechanical records, police reports, and more can be preserved.
Your attorney may also want to speak to witnesses while their memories are fresh and seek accident reconstruction specialists to provide expert testimony.
At Abraham Watkins, a dram shop attorney will dedicate themselves to your case. We will fight tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve and where a settlement is not possible, we are prepared to take your case to court utilizing our vast experience in personal injury trial law.
We work on a no-win-no-fee basis, so you can secure high-quality representation with no risk.
Contact a Richmond, TX Dram Shop Lawyer Today
Following a drunk driving accident, you may look to the intoxicated driver for a settlement. However, this is not always sufficient to cover all of your damages. Fortunately, you may also be able to claim against the dram shop that served them the alcohol.
The owners of dram shops, as well as the individuals who serve alcohol, can be held responsible for the consequences of serving alcohol to obviously intoxicated patrons.To protect your rights to compensation, speak to a Richmond dram shop lawyer today. We offer a free consultation, so call our law firm today at 713-535-9319!
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