If you have been involved in an accident with a driver that was under the influence in Pasadena, TX, then you may be entitled to seek compensation from the venue they were drinking at.
Dram shop laws state that if a venue that serves alcohol for consumption on the premises serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person, they may be liable for any wrongful death damages or serious injuries caused by the intoxicated person if they cause a car accident.
These laws were introduced to counter the growing number of drunk driving accident cases caused by venues serving alcohol irresponsibly. Named after a single measure of alcohol, a “Dram”, they apply to any venue that serves alcohol to patrons for consumption on the premises.
It is always wise to get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a drunk driving accident. Dram shop law can be complex and difficult to navigate without a skilled and experienced personal injury law firm representing you.
When you are dealing with severe injuries, mental trauma, or the wrongful death of a loved one, it can be hard to think clearly. By obtaining the help of an attorney that has experience in dealing with drunk driving accidents, you can take a step back, and focus on your mental and physical wellbeing while they take over your case.
Contact Abraham Watkins Today
At Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, we have been fighting on behalf of clients in similar situations to you since 1951. This makes us one of the longest-serving personal injury law firms in the entire state and gives us an expansive wealth of experience to draw upon.
Our knowledge of dram shop liability laws and personal injury laws is unrivaled and our approach to the attorney-client relationship is second to none. We are prepared to fight aggressively on your behalf, against any insurance company, and in any courtroom.
Our personal injury attorneys have a long list of happy clients for that we have won favorable outcomes f0r in car accident cases involving drunk drivers.
We keep our phone lines manned around the clock, 24 hours a day seven days a week. This means we are here for you when you need us most.
Call today at 713-535-9319.
One of our team can arrange for a free consultation via sit-down meeting or video call. In this meeting, you can ask any questions you have, receive some immediate legal advice and hear our opinions on your case.
Do I Even Have Grounds for a Dram Shop Liability Case?
In order to raise a dram shop liability case in Pasadena, Texas, you are going to need to work with your attorney to prove that the venue broke their duty of care to you and their patrons. By breaking this duty of care, their actions will be seen as negligent and if you can prove their negligence, you can begin to assign liability.
Negligent behavior is any behavior that is seen as different from how a normal “reasonable” person would have acted in the same situation.
To do this in a dram shop liability case you will need to prove that the drunk driver responsible for your accident, caused your injuries and damages due to being overserved alcohol when visibly intoxicated.
If the drunk driver was allowed to enter their vehicle after being overserved alcohol, without being challenged or stopped by the venue, they may be liable for any damages caused by that drunk driver.
These cases are difficult to navigate and will require a law firm with skilled lawyers and excellent legal skills if you want to seek the maximum compensation.
Pasadena, Texas Dram Shop Liability Simplified
Dram shop liability laws in Texas state declare that any venue that serves alcoholic beverages, has a duty of care to their customers if the alcohol is for consumption on the premises.
If an establishment served alcohol to the person responsible for a drunk driving accident, and there is proof that they overserved them when they were visibly intoxicated, this is seen as negligent behavior and may mean they may be found liable for damages.
What Different Types of Damages Can I Claim For Following a Pasadena Car Accident?
Following a severe car accident in Pasadena, Texas, you could be looking at a range of different consequences and damages. These damages may be financially overwhelming or emotionally stressful.
In the sections below, we will look at the different forms of damages that you may be entitled to seek compensation for following a drunk driving accident in Pasadena.
Claiming for Medical Bills in Pasadena
In Texas, medical bills following an accident are usually the most immediately stressful. Even with a good level of insurance, if you have been seriously injured, medical bills can quickly add up.
Your personal injury lawyer will be able to seek compensation for every penny of your medical bills. This can be a lifesaver if your insurance company attempts to avoid paying out.
The best thing you can do to help your case is to ensure that you keep hold of every single receipt and bill that you receive. This includes all taxis and transport, to and from the hospital or healthcare provider.
You should also keep a diary of your treatment and if possible take photographs of any injuries you have received.
Claiming for Income Lost Following an Accident Caused by a Drunk Driver
If you have received physical or emotional injuries as a result of your accident, you may have to take time off work. If your injuries are severe enough, you may not be able to return to the same job in the same capacity ever again.
Fortunately, your personal injury law firm will be able to calculate your lost wages, past, present, and future.
This is another area where you can help. Make sure that you retain any correspondence you have had with your employer and keep a diary of all your time off work and the reasons why.
Claiming for Pain and Suffering in Pasadena, Texas
Simplified, pain and suffering damages encompass all damages that do not have a tangible, physical cost. This can include things like emotional distress and mental trauma, as well as a loss of enjoyment of life.
For example, if you have received a lifelong injury that prevents you from taking part in sports you took part in before your accident, this counts as pain and suffering. If you no longer feel safe driving your car anymore, you can claim pain and suffering damages for the change to the quality of your life.
Claiming for Property Damage
It isn’t just your physical and emotional trauma and injuries that your attorney will be able to claim for either. If your car was totaled in a drunk driving accident, you will be able to claim the cost to repair or replace your vehicle and any property damage inside it.
If your phone and your laptop were inside the car, for example, you shouldn’t be out of pocket replacing them yourself.
Steps To Take At the Scene of a Drunk Driving Accident
Alcohol causes a reduction in reaction time and can influence the ability to make sensible decisions. This results in a much higher impact speed and a lower chance that the driver notices the hazard, brakes on time, or swerves out of the way.
This means that the chances for a serious injury or fatality, are massively increased when the at-fault party is under the influence of alcohol.
If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident, there are things you must ensure you do in order to protect yourself at the scene and protect your chances of a successful claim later on down the line:
Stay on The Scene
If you leave the scene of the accident, you reduce your chances of a successful claim. If you are in a dangerous situation, move to a place of safety if possible but do not leave the scene.
- Check for injuries – If you hit your head or you feel pain in your neck or spine, avoid moving. If you feel confident you have not injured your neck or spine, you should check your body for other injuries before moving. If you have injuries make sure that you tell the emergency services when you call them.
- Call the emergency services for an ambulance – Calling for an ambulance is always a smart decision. They will ensure everyone is looked after and check for internal or hidden injuries that may not be obviously apparent. They will also create an accident report you can use as evidence later on.
- Call the police – Calling the police is a must, especially if you suspect the at-fault party is under the influence of alcohol. They will be able to ensure that the scene is made safe, traffic is diverted and most importantly, they will be able to administer a blood-alcohol test. The results of this test will be massively important if you are seeking compensation via dram shop laws.
- Collect evidence – Evidence is king when it comes to personal injury cases. The more you collect the better. If you are able, you should try to take photos of the scene or a video.
- Witnesses – If there are any eye-witnesses, it is a smart idea to get their details as soon as possible. An email, phone number, address, and full name are good places to start. Even better would be a small voice-recorded statement of what they saw.
- Go to the hospital – If you did not receive medical attention at the scene of the accident, we recommend that you head to a hospital as soon as possible for a check-up. Sometimes internal injuries can lie hidden and if they are not diagnosed, they can lead to serious consequences later on down the line. This will also count as your first documented case of medical attention, which is useful for your personal injury attorney’s medical timeline.
- Hire a dram shop/DUI accident lawyer – Personal injury cases are always time-sensitive, meaning the sooner you get in touch with an attorney, the better your chances of seeking maximum compensation. If you get in touch quickly, they will have a better chance of collecting evidence and will be able to begin building your case. Evidence like CCTV and till receipts may be deleted or thrown away in the days following the accident.
What is the Safe Harbor Defense to Dram Shop Liability?
Venues and employers can utilize a special defense to reduce their liability. This defense, known as the Safe Harbor Defense, can be used if the venue provides its bartenders with compulsory awareness training designed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
If the venue can prove it has given the employee who served the patron this two-hour training course and that they did not influence or coerce them to serve the patron, they can reduce their liability through the Safe Harbor Defense.
Employers and venues do not have to give this training in Pasadena, and you do not need to have sat through the two-hour course to serve alcohol, but if a venue wants to be able to use the Safe Harbor Defense, it is compulsory.
Details for this defense can be found under 106.14 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
What Is the Average Settlement for Dram Shop Claims in Houston, TX?
Personal injury settlements vary wildly depending upon the specific circumstances and damages of the case. Some factors that will influence the potential compensation include:
- The severity of the injuries.
- Future medical expenses.
- How costly medical bills are.
- The fault.
- How much the accident has impacted the plaintiff’s day-to-day life.
- The age of the injured victim.
Call Abraham Watkins Today!
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, and you are unsure if you have grounds for a dram shop case, you should get in touch with the team here at Abraham Watkins today for a free case consultation.
We have been serving the state of Texas for over 70 years and have a long list of wins, both in and out of the courtroom for our clients in similar situations to yours.
We won’t rest until you have received fair and reasonable financial compensation for your damages.Call today at 713-535-9319.
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