In response to the growing number of drunk driving-related deaths and injuries, Texas introduced a set of laws called dram shop liability laws. These were introduced on the 12th of June and apply to each and every one of the state’s many dram shops.
What these laws were designed to do, is to increase the level of responsibility that restaurant and bar owners have towards their customers.
A dram shop, named after a “dram” or a single measure of alcohol, is classified as any venue serving alcohol for a patron to consume on the premises. This means liquor stores are exempt and are not classified as dram shops.
Under dram shop liability laws, every single venue that serves alcohol for consumption at the venue has a duty of care to its customers. This means they must refuse service to anyone who is visibly intoxicated.
If a customer is served alcohol when they are already clearly too intoxicated, and they go on to cause a fatality or injury behind the wheel, the venue may be held liable for the damages they cause.
If you have been on the receiving end of a car accident in Spring, TX, and the party responsible was under the influence, you have the legal right to seek compensation either from the individual themselves or the venue that served them.
With over 70 years of experience, Abraham Watkins is proud to be one of the longest-serving firms in the entire state. We can draw upon the experience we have gained these many years in our countless victories to provide a tailored approach to your case. This invaluable experience gives us an edge and means you have a greater chance of successfully winning the full and maximum compensation available.
As a personal injury law firm, all of our team are knowledgable in dram shop liability laws. Our approach to the attorney-client relationship is second to none, so call us today at 713-535-9319.
Drunk Driving Accidents in Spring, Texas
With a drunk driving accident resulting in a fatality or life-changing injury occurring three times every single hour, it is safe to say that driving under the influence is a major problem in Texas.
Not only is it a serious crime to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs but if you do decide to get behind the wheel, your chances of causing an accident are massively increased. This may result in stealing a loved one from a family forever or causing injuries that affect the victim for the rest of their lives.
This is because alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant. What this means is that when you are under the influence of alcohol, your reaction times to hazards are reduced to a high degree. Your ability to make judgment calls is massively impaired too.
This is a catastrophic combo. Drunk drivers spot hazards later, if they even spot them at all, and often fail to slam the brakes on or perform any evasive maneuvering.
The result is an accident that happens at a much higher speed, often at a more direct angle, meaning the chances of causing serious injury or fatality are high.
What Is the Average Settlement for Dram Shop Claims in Spring, TX?
Even with 70 years of service, we have never seen two cases that are exactly the same. Every personal injury case comes with its own unique fingerprint. There are different circumstances and events that lead up to the event, and different degrees of injuries and damages to consider.
This means that the settlement for your case will be unique to your case and your case alone. There is no average settlement figure. Your pain and suffering will need to be calculated and your physical damages accounted for.
The following factors will need to be considered:
- The fault.
- The severity of the injuries.
- How costly medical have been.
- Future medical expenses.
- The age of the injured victim.
- The degree to which the accident has impacted your daily life.
One of the most important jobs that your attorney will do for you, is to help you calculate the settlement figure you send to the other parties.
To do this, first, they will add up all of your tangible quantifiable damages. These are the damages with a price tag, like your medical bills and car repair costs. So make sure that you keep hold of all of your receipts.
Next, they will consider your pain and suffering damages. These are usually the damages that do not have a price tag. Things like your emotional and mental trauma need to be looked at as well as any loss of enjoyment of life.
Calculating pain and suffering damages fairly is a hard task. The more experience your lawyer has in dealing with cases just like yours, the better equipped they will be to calculate these damages in a fair and reasonable way that is hard to dispute.
Steps You Should Take Following a DUI Accident in Spring, TX
In order to protect yourself and maximize your chances of seeking full and maximum compensation, here is what you should do following a DUI accident.
Remain on the Scene
You should always stay on the scene of an accident if possible. You will need to wait for an ambulance if you have injuries, however, if you are able to you should collect evidence, speak to eyewitnesses, etc. If the other driver is drunk, waiting for the police is also a smart move.
Check for Injuries
The most important thing in any accident is to prioritize your own safety. First, if you have hit your head or feel a pain in the top of your shoulders, back or neck then you should stay still and wait for help.
If you feel confident that you have not injured your spine, neck, or head, check your body for other injuries like burns and lacerations. When you call for an ambulance, tell them what injuries you have and if possible what injuries other people have.
Call an Ambulance if There are Injuries
In almost every situation, if there are any injuries, call for an ambulance. Sometimes injuries can appear small but may actually indicate deeper hidden injuries like internal bleeding.
The ambulance team will know how to check you over for this and will be able to make sure that everyone is treated. When it comes to the health of yourself and everyone else involved, it is better to er on the side of caution.
Another benefit to calling for an ambulance is that they will file an unbiased accident report relating to your accident. This report can be obtained by your attorney later on and used as evidence.
Receiving medical treatment will also begin the timeline of your medical attention. This timeline is crucial in proving your medical damages and claiming compensation for your medical bills.
Call the Police
If you have been involved in a motoring accident that was more major than a simple bump with no injuries, we recommend calling for the police.
They will make the scene of the accident safe, diverting oncoming traffic and arranging for the removal of debris. They will also be able to administer a blood alcohol test to the drunk driver. This is an extremely important piece of evidence when it comes to dram shop settlements or a dram shop lawsuit.
The police also file an accident report, similar to the ambulance team and this report can be used as evidence by your attorney in the same way.
Your dram shop liability lawyers will find it a lot easier to build your case if you can provide them with strong evidence from the scene.
A smart move is to take a video or photos of the scene as soon as you are able. This will help you remember the accident and your legal representation will find it easier to piece together what happened.
If accident victims are lucky, there will be eyewitnesses on the scene that saw the accident happen in real-time and are happy to provide their details and a statement.
If this is the case, make sure you take as many details as possible. Take their names, numbers, emails, addresses, and if possible a short statement, written or voice recorded.
If you manage to do this, it will be a lot easier to build an air-tight case.
Hire a Dram Shop Lawyer
Dram shop law is complicated and tricky to navigate. For the best chances of a successful claim, you need to act promptly. The sooner you get in touch with a skilled and experienced dram shop lawyer, the better their chances of finding the strongest freshest evidence.
Often, CCTV is re-written or erased on purpose. Tills are reset so that receipts are erased and the accident scene is quickly cleaned up.
Call your attorney as soon as you are safe and able!
Dram Shop Injuries
Alcohol has a severe effect on both reaction times and on clear thinking. This is why drunk driving is a criminal offense. When a driver is drunk behind the wheel, their chances of causing an accident are increased, and worse, the potential the accident has to cause the tragic loss of life or serious injury of an innocent is drastically raised too.
When a sober driver encounters a hazard, they spot it early, have time to maneuver, and will slam their brakes on. Drunk drivers will not spot the hazard quickly if they even spot it at all. This means they have less time to maneuver and less time to slam the brakes on.
This leads to a much higher, much more direct collision and the result is a much higher chance of serious injury or fatality.
No one should lose a loved one due to the actions of a drunk driver.
If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident, or someone you love has been seriously injured or killed, you should seek a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer. They will answer any questions you have, explain your rights, and if you wish, they will begin building your case.
An experienced personal injury attorney, one that has dealt with drunk driving accidents and dram shop liability cases before, will give you a much stronger chance at successfully winning your case. They will know how to navigate the state’s dram shop laws and will know the best plan of action.
Call Abraham Watkins today for a free case evaluation.
Do I Have a Dram Shop Case Following an Accident in Spring, TX?
It may be hard to determine whether or not the responsible party in your accident had been drinking at a dram shop. The best thing you could do is to get in touch with your attorney immediately. This will allow them to spring into action, investigating on your behalf.
If your attorney uncovered evidence that the at-fault party had in fact been drinking at a venue that is held under Texas dram shop laws, you most likely have the right to claim.
Victims that may be entitled to a claim include:
- Other drivers.
- Passengers in either car.
- The family of anyone killed.
- The intoxicated driver themselves.
What is the Safe Harbor Defense to Dram Shop Liability in Dram Shop, TX?
The Safe Habor Defense can be used by employers to reduce their liability if one of their bartenders has overserved alcohol to a patron and they have caused an accident.
In order to utilize this defense, the employer will need to show evidence that they have given the bartender in question a two-hour safety and awareness course, designed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
It is down to the employer if they want to give their staff this training, it is not compulsory, but in order to use the defense the employer:
- Must have evidence they gave the training to the employee.
- Must not have coerced the employee into serving the intoxicated person.
For more on the Texas Dram Shop Act and the Safer Harbor Defense, refer to 106.14 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
Call Abraham Watkins Today!
During our 70 years of service to the state, we have gained a long list of happy clients thanks to our incredible attitude, approach to the attorney-client relationship, and of course, our numerous wins and victories.
We are proud of our reputation as one of the longest-serving law firms in Texas here at Abraham Watkins.
The sooner you get in touch with one of our experienced attorneys, the sooner we can begin to work on your case, investigating and taking the weight from your shoulders. This means you can rest easy knowing that you are in capable hands.
Call Abraham Watkins today and seek the compensation you deserve.Our phone lines are manned around the clock, call us for a free consultation at 713-535-9319!
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