Drunk driving accidents occur once every 20 minutes across the state of Texas, leading to thousands of innocent people with serious injuries. Worse still, across the United States, one person every 45 minutes is killed in a drunk driving accident.
In an attempt to reduce this number, Texas dram shop laws were introduced. Dram shop laws place responsibility on any venue that serves alcohol for patrons to consume on their premises, such as bars, clubs, and restaurants.
Under these laws, if a dram shop serves alcohol to someone who is clearly intoxicated and allows them to drive their car, and that same customer goes on to cause a drunk driving accident, then the venue could be found liable for the damages caused.
Abraham Watkins has served Texas for more than 70 years and is one of the longest-serving law firms in the whole of Texas. To secure representation from a Kingwood dram shop lawyer with extensive experience and a wealth of resources at their disposal, contact us today to arrange a free consultation.
From Kingwood to Houston, dram shop lawyers at Abraham Watkins cover the whole of Texas and are prepared to fight your case until you secure the compensation you deserve.
Our phone lines are open 24/7, so you can seek advice from a skilled Texas dram shop lawyer when you need it.
Call 713-535-9319 and arrange a free consultation today!
Kingwood Dram Shop Cases
Dram shop cases place liability on the owners of dram shops, which are establishments that serve alcohol to be consumed on their premises.
Under Texas dram shop law, if a venue serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person, then they have acted negligently.
To commit negligence is to behave in a way other than how a reasonable person would have in a similar situation. If a server sees a customer staggering and continues to serve alcohol to them anyway, then this is considered negligence.
If you are served alcohol when you posed a clear danger to yourself and others, and go on to cause an accident, then the venue may be liable for your damages, as well as any damages caused to other people involved in the car accident.
That means whether you were the intoxicated person or the innocent victim, you have a right to seek compensation for injuries, fatalities, and other damages.
Kingwood dram shop liability cases are complex, and your best chance of securing the maximum compensation for your injuries is to seek the support and guidance of an experienced dram shop lawyer, such as the ones found at Abraham Watkins.
What to Do After a Kingwood Drunk Driving Accident
After a car accident in Kingwood, TX, your actions are important. Taking the right steps could maximize your chances of seeking the compensation you deserve.
Following a DUI accident, adrenaline runs high, and you may even go into shock. One of the reasons we keep our phone lines open 24/7 is so that people can seek advice when they need it most.
If you find yourself in a DUI, then here are the steps you should take:
Stay at the Scene of the Accident
After a DUI crash, it can be tempting to drive off, especially if you are an intoxicated person. However, it is essential that you stay at the scene and move to a place of safety if you are still in danger.
Check Everyone For Injuries
First, check in with yourself. If you feel pain in your head, neck, or back, then you should remain where you are and wait for help. If you are confident that you have not suffered serious injuries, then you should check everyone else for injuries.
If anyone is injured, then you should call 911 and wait for the paramedics to assess the situation.
If you do not receive medical attention at the scene of the accident, then it is essential that you seek medical advice as soon as possible. It is common for adrenaline to mask serious injuries, and you do not want to make your condition worse because you are unaware of how to hurt you are.
It is also essential that you seek medical attention if you wish to file a Kingwood dram shop claim. Your medical record will be an important piece of evidence and the sooner, the better, as your attorney will more easily be able to prove that your injuries were directly caused by the accident.
Contact The Police
In accordance with state law, police must be called to the scene of an accident that causes injury or serious property damage.
They will make sure that everyone is safe, administer a blood alcohol test if they suspect a drunk driver, and fill out a police report that will become integral to your claim.
If the accident is not severe enough to warrant police attending the scene, then you should still make them aware of the accident by contacting them online or through your local police department.
Take Photos, Speak to Witnesses and Gather Evidence
In any kind of personal injury case, the more evidence, the better. If you are not too injured, then you should take photos of the scene, including cars, injuries, skid marks, road signs, and anything else that could be relevant.
You should also take note of the other driver’s registration number, name and insurance information. If there are any witnesses, then take their names and numbers so that your attorney can contact them later.
Contact Your Insurance Company
You will also be required to inform your insurance company if you are in a car accident. Your insurance policy will inform you of what you need to do, but you usually have around 24 hours to let them know.
However, we always advise that people be as vague as possible when speaking with their insurance company. Remember, insurance companies are big businesses, and they may look to limit their liability in any way they can. Never admit fault; simply inform them that there has been an accident and let them know that your attorney will be in touch.
Hire a Kingwood Dram Shop Attorney
After a drunk driving accident, you should contact a dram shop lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner, the better, as they will get right to work investigating your case and building a strong claim. They will determine whether you should claim damages under dram shop liability or as a personal injury claim.
They will contact witnesses, employ car accident re-enactment specialists, gather CCTV, and more. They will also handle all the paperwork, quantify your damages and strive to secure a settlement for you. If a fair settlement can not be agreed upon, they will be prepared to take your case to court.
The Safe Harbor Defense to Dram Shop Liability
Dram shop owners can limit their liability through the Safe Harbor Defense. For this defense to apply, they must have given their employees a course provided by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. This course raises awareness about the dangers of overserving alcohol.
However, if the employer is found to have encouraged or coerced their staff into continuing to serve alcohol when they were trying to refuse service, then the Safe Harbor Defense will be invalid.
In order for a dram shop to use the Safe Harbor Defense, they must provide evidence that their employees took this course, and that they did not encourage or coerce them into continuing to serve alcohol to a clearly intoxicated person.
What Damages Can I Claim in a Kingwood Dram Shop Case?
Your Kingwood dram shop attorney will calculate your damages and evidence them so that the figure they ask for is difficult to argue with.
While some damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, are easy to calculate, there are others that don’t have a tangible figure. You deserve to be compensated for your emotional suffering and physical pain as well, and your attorney will make sure they are accounted for.
Your damages could include:
Medical expenses quickly add up, even with a high level of insurance coverage. As well as your bills, you may also be out of pocket for things such as transport to and from the hospital, parking charges, child care while you are in hospital, and more.
It is also important that the cost of future care, including physiotherapy and rehabilitation, are accounted for, as well as any home adjustments that might be necessary to make you more comfortable.
You should keep hold of all your receipts and keep a diary of your treatments, the costs involved, and the emotional and physical pain they cause. All of this can be used to build a strong case.
Any lost wages should also be represented in your settlement. That includes past, present, and future loss of earnings. If your injuries prevent you from returning to work permanently, you may be able to claim a lifetime of lost earnings as well as the cost of retraining in something new. If your family has had to take time off work to care for you, then this could also be considered.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages are designed to compensate you for your non-economic losses. Things like physical pain, emotional suffering, and loss of enjoyment in life. If you are no longer able to participate in your favorite hobby because of your injuries, then this should be considered.
Car accidents inevitably lead to property damage, such as car repairs or replacement. These are easily quantifiable, and you should be compensated for them.
Punitive damages are sometimes awarded in personal injury lawsuits and are designed to punish the perpetrator rather than compensate the victim. They are rare, but if you are fighting a personal injury case against a drunk driver, then they are possible.
If you lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, then you may be able to claim wrongful death damages either from the intoxicated driver themselves or via a dram shop claim.
A wrongful death claim could cover expenses such as funeral expenses and loss of income to a family household. There may also be non-economic damages awarded, designed to compensate you for loss of companionship and for your emotional suffering.
No amount of money can ever make up for the loss of a loved one. However, if someone else’s negligence caused their death, you should not have to worry about the financial difficulties that could follow. At Abraham Watkins, we will take over your case, so that you can focus on your family at this difficult time.
Contact a Kingwood, TX Dram Shop Lawyer Today
In accordance with the Texas Dram Shop Act, servers of alcohol should not sell alcohol to obviously intoxicated patrons.
That might sound fairly straightforward, however, proving dram shop liability is complex and requires skilled personal injury attorneys who deal with DUI cases every day.
With their help, you can prove the validity of your dram shop case and secure the damages you deserve.
At Abraham Watkins, we have been helping victims of personal injury in Texas for over 70 years. We have a stellar approach to the attorney-client relationship and will be there to support and guide you from the beginning until the end of your case.
If your case is clear-cut, we will strive for a quick settlement but will also be prepared to fight aggressively when necessary.
We work on a no-win-no-fee basis, which means that representation costs you nothing upfront. We take our fee as a percentage of your settlement, and we receive nothing if we are unsuccessful.
To secure representation from one of Texas’s longest-serving personal injury law firms, call Abraham Watkins today. We won’t rest until you have the compensation you deserve.Call us to arrange a free consultation at 713-535-9319!
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