When you’re in an accident caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol, you’re terrified and angry, and you want more than anything for the guilty party to pay for the injuries you’ve suffered. What if, however, the person behind the wheel wasn’t the only one to blame?
In fact, and in the eyes of the law, sometimes the person who served the alcohol is as guilty as the person driving the car. Learn what a dram shop law is, how it applies to accidents caused by a drunk driver, and how a Texas car accident attorney can help you get justice.
Drunk Driver and Dram Shops
Texas, like most states in the Union, has a set of civil statutes known as dram shop laws. These laws state that when a person is drunk and causes an accident, the bar, restaurant or other establishment who served them alcohol can be held responsible for the accident as well. There are, in general, two types of suits that can arise from such cases: first and third-party suits.
First vs. Third
The first kind of case is one in which a person drinks too much, leaves the establishment where they were drinking, and gets in an accident where they get hurt. They then try to sue the bar for their injury. These cases are quite rare and very difficult to win, as the law presumes that an adult is (or should be) responsible for their own actions. One exception to this is if the intoxicated party was underage, in which case it was a crime to serve them alcohol to begin with.
The second case, a third-party one, occurs when a person has too much to drink, then goes out and harms someone else in an accident. The harmed person can then sue the drunk driver and the establishment that served them, based on the idea that if they were obviously drunk, the bar should’ve known better.
Negligence, Recklessness, and Deliberate Acts
The key to liability in a suit of this nature is to prove two of three things: negligence on the part of the driver, and either recklessness or deliberate actions on the part of the serving establishment. You will need to prove that the bar or restaurant knew that the driver was intoxicated and yet continued to serve them alcohol, either out of recklessness or from a deliberate attempt to harm someone.
Car Accident Attorney
When you are in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you need help to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. An Odessa car accident attorney will know how to gather the facts and evidence to prove your case, to fight insurance companies who try any tactic to get out of paying, and to make sure you get justice for the injuries you’ve suffered.
If you’ve been in an accident of this kind and need help to collect damages, the offices of Robert White can help. Give us a call to talk about what’s happened and start on the road to compensation today.