If a drunk driver caused you injuries in a crash, talk with Brooker Law, PLLC, today about your options. Impaired driving is all too common, and it often causes others serious harm.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported officers arrested more than 1 million drivers for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs in 2016. Those arrests, though, were only 1 percent of the number of episodes U.S. adults self-reported of driving while impaired by alcohol in 2014. In that year alone, there were 111 million episodes of drunk driving that could have resulted in a serious or fatal crash.
When you’ve been the victim of one of these instances of intoxicated driving, don’t hesitate to ask for legal help. Your focus should be on recovering from your injuries and spending time with your family. Let us handle the insurance claim and litigation processes necessary to win you fair compensation.
We Thoroughly Investigate Liability After a Drunk Driving Crash
When you come to us with severe injuries after a DUI crash, one of our first concerns is insurance coverage. We will immediately find out about the driver’s insurance coverage and the insurance policy limit. But we don’t stop there.
We also dig deeper into any other insurance policies that might cover your injuries. For example, we’ll ask if you have uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage. We’ll find out whether the driver has an umbrella policy or someone else owned the car and has a bodily injury liability policy.
We’ll also look into who served the driver alcohol—a business could be liable for over-serving someone or selling alcohol to a minor. Looking for another responsible party or insurance policy helps us pursue the maximum settlement for your drunk driving accident injuries.
Texas Dram Shop Laws
Under the Texas Dram Shop Act, if a bar, restaurant, or any other business sold or gave the driver alcohol despite them being intoxicated and dangerous, we’ll seek to hold the business liable. In this type of claim, we have to prove:
- The other party was a “provider” under the law, which means a person or business that sells or serves alcohol based on having a license or permit to do so.
- The driver was obviously intoxicated to the provider. We might provide evidence of their speech, smell, appearance, movements, and blood alcohol levels.
- The driver was drunk enough to present a danger to themselves or other people. Courts consider this to be an objective standard—the intoxication simply has to be visible and observable.
- The alcohol they provided to the driver was the cause of your injuries.
It’s under this law that bars and restaurants who over-serve the patrons can be liable for the outcome of a drunk driving accident. We always research where a DUI accident driver was before the accident. We might discover they went to one or more establishments in the area.
The Dram Shop Act applies to serving underage people, too. If the driver was under 18 years old and any adult over 21 years, who was not their parent or guardian, gave them alcohol, then we’ll pursue compensation from that adult. The adult might be liable under the law whether they knowingly served an underage person alcohol or allowed someone to serve a minor alcohol on their property—whether they own a home or rent an apartment.
This second part of the Dram Shop Act is often relevant to college students. If you were hit by a drunk driver who’d been to a college or fraternity party, the adults who purchased and provided the alcohol might be liable for your injuries. The only way to find out is to have an experienced attorney thoroughly investigate when and where the driver got the alcohol that caused their inebriation at the time of the crash.
Texas’ Safe Harbor Provision
Businesses that sell alcohol in Texas can avoid liability under the Dram Shop Act through what’s known as a safe harbor provision by:
- Requiring their employees to attend a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission-approved seller training program,
- Having their employees actually attend the program, and
- Not directly or indirectly encouraging their employees to violate the Dram Shop Act.
If an alcohol provider claims safe harbor, we will thoroughly investigate whether or not they encouraged their employees to over-serve intoxicated patrons, even in subtle and unofficial ways.
DUI Crashes Lead to Serious Injuries
When a drunk driver causes a collision, the aftermath is often severe. Unlike sober and alert drivers, impaired drivers don’t necessarily try to avoid or mitigate the severity of the crash by hitting the brake or trying to swerve out of the way. Their failure to act means they might collide with your vehicle directly and at high speeds, causing you serious or catastrophic injuries.
Common injuries in drunk driving accidents include:
Your head might collide with a part of the vehicle or be struck by a loose object in your car. Also, the forceful back-and-forth motion of your head can be enough to cause a concussion or more serious TBI. Brain injuries can take weeks, months, or years to recover from—and they can leave behind permanent physical, personality, emotional, and cognitive changes.
You might experience several broken bones, including compound fractures with open wounds or comminuted fractures, when the bone shatters into several pieces. Traction and immobilization might not be enough to put the bones back in place to heal. You might require one or more surgeries and metal pins and screws to address the break.
A crash can cause a complete or incomplete spinal cord injury, resulting in paraplegia or tetraplegia. You can experience a loss or reduction in movement, loss or decrease in sensation, loss of bladder and bowel control, sexual dysfunction, and other severe health conditions due to a spinal cord injury.
The collision might cause a traumatic amputation of a digit or limb. Or, a severe crush injury to a hand, arm, foot, or leg might require surgical amputation.
Chest and Abdominal Injuries
You might suffer significant injuries to the ribs and sternum because of the force of the crash. In some circumstances, you can sustain life-threatening internal organ damage and internal bleeding.
What You Need to Know About Drunk Driving Accident Settlements
Being hurt in a car crash caused by another driver is always difficult. But there’s an extra layer of anger when you learn the negligent driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol. That person never should’ve been on the road, and now you’re suffering the consequences.
Don’t let your frustration and resentment at the drunk driver impact how you move forward with your insurance claim and personal injury lawsuit. The best thing to do is work with a Dallas personal injury lawyer who knows how to gather evidence of the driver’s fault, liability under the Dram Shop Act, and your injuries, and then use all of that to win you the maximum settlement possible.
No law firm can guarantee that they’ll get you a settlement. It’s neither possible nor ethical to guarantee you’ll receive a certain amount in a certain timeframe. What can promise to use the legal tools at our disposal to aggressively fight for a full and fair settlement as soon as possible.
It’s also important to know that there is no average or typical drunk driving accident settlement.
How much your case is worth depends on several factors, including:
- The value of your property damage;
- Your expenses and losses arising from the accident;
- The type of physical and psychological injuries you sustained;
- The severity of your physical and psychological injuries;
- The documentation and proof of your injuries; and
- The at-fault driver’s insurance policy limit.
Settlements can range from thousands to millions of dollars. It’s important to talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Dallas about what your case is worth based on the circumstances. We’ll discuss these factors and others and take steps to learn the intoxicated driver’s insurance policy limit right away.
Contact Brooker Law, PLLC, to Schedule Your Free Consultation
We understand how upset you are right now. The drunk driver forced you into a position no one should have to deal with. But you don’t have to handle it on your own.
By calling Brooker Law, PLLC, at (214) 217-0277 or using our contact form, you can connect with an experienced Dallas personal injury lawyer today. Let us fight for you and your right to compensation.