If you incurred injuries in a car crash, and you know or believe that the other driver was intoxicated due to alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, it is imperative that you call our Fort Worth drunk driving accident lawyers.
Our award-winning car accident lawyers are dedicated to fighting for drunk driving accident victims like you. Here at Anderson Injury Lawyers, we represent clients in Fort Worth who have been seriously injured or killed by the irresponsible actions of drunk drivers. We understand how life-changing an accident can be, and we use our knowledge, skills, and resources to win our clients the compensation they deserve for their injuries, lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
While we cannot dictate criminal charges, we can file a civil drunk driving lawsuit on your behalf and pursue compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial injuries. With the help of our experienced drunk driving accident lawyers at Anderson Injury Lawyers, you can hold the drunk driver responsible. Call us today at 817-294-1900, or reach out online to schedule a free consultation of your case.
Drunk Driving Accidents in Texas
After a crash, you should call 911 to ensure emergency medical personnel arrive quickly and that the police come to control traffic, perform a quick investigation, and write up a report. If there are signs that the other driver is impaired, the police will take extra steps to determine if the driver has alcohol or drugs in their body, including a roadside breath test and formal chemical tests following an arrest.
Under Texas law, a driver cannot be intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in public and will be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). One way to establish if a driver who is 21 or older and operating their personal vehicle while intoxicated is if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. If the driver had their commercial driver’s license and was in a commercial vehicle at the time, then the driver would be deemed intoxicated with a .04% BAC. If the driver was underage, then any amount of alcohol in their system would be unlawful.
As soon as you think the at-fault driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash, you should talk with our DUI accident lawyers who are experienced in drunk driving accident claims. If you are hurt after being hit by a drunk driver, you may have the right to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim.
Drunk Driving Accident Victim Awarded $250,000
Common Injuries From DWI Accidents
If a drunk driver in Fort Worth hit you, you might be experiencing one or more injuries, including:
- Bone fractures
- Joint dislocations
- Burns from an airbag deployment
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Herniated discs and other back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Compensation After a DWI-Related Car Accident
When you incur injuries in a drunk driving accident, you typically have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver. Our experienced personal injury lawyers fight to pursue financial recovery on your behalf through a lawsuit or an insurance claim. Through either avenue, we seek compensation for your:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress and Mental Anguish
- Physical Limitation
- Reduced Earning Potential
When a driver becomes sloppy, distracted, or tired, this type of carelessness can lead to accidents. However, getting into the driver’s seat after having several drinks is more than being careless; it’s unlawful, life-threatening and inexcusable. When new clients come to us, we work to prove that the intoxicated driver’s actions were grossly negligent, which means we are able to seek punitive damages. These are not necessarily intended to compensate you. Instead, punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer.
Fatal Drunk Driving Accidents in Fort Worth, TX
If a drunk driver killed your parent, spouse, child, or another relative, call our experienced drunk driving accident lawyers at Anderson Injury Lawyers as soon as possible. We will thoroughly investigate the situation, evaluate your injuries, and advise you on whether or not you can pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. We are highly experienced in Texas’ wrongful death law, and if you have a claim, we will fight hard for you and your family to receive the compensation you deserve during this difficult time.
The Texas Dram Shop Act
You may have options to get compensation from someone other than the drunk driver. Under Section 2.02 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, there are times when providing, selling, or serving alcohol to others can create a legal claim. But only under specific circumstances described in the law.
Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, and Other Licensed Providers
You can sue an alcohol provider if, when the provider gave someone alcohol, the recipient was intoxicated to the extent they were a danger to themselves or others. The recipient’s intoxication must have been the direct and legal cause of your injuries.
For this situation, the law defines “provider.” It’s anyone who sells or serves alcohol under a license or permit or who otherwise sells alcohol to others. It isn’t one adult who serves alcohol to another adult at their home. The Dram Shop Law doesn’t create social host liability.
Under this law, an alcohol provider’s duty begins by not over-serving patrons. When someone becomes clearly intoxicated, it’s the provider’s employees’ responsibility to cut them off. The provider isn’t responsible for making sure the patron gets home safe, though.
Adults Serving Minors
The other situation is when someone over 21-years-old services alcohol to a minor under 18-years-old. The adult can’t be the minor’s spouse, parent, or guardian. The adult had to knowingly serve the minor or allow someone else to serve them.
This provision can be relevant to college and university students. Serving alcohol at a party is all well and good if everyone is over 21-years-old. But if high schoolers or younger college students attend, the party’s host could be in serious trouble.
History of the Dram Shop Law
Texas didn’t always hold alcohol providers responsible for other people’s injuries. In 1987, the Texas Supreme Court decided a third party could sue an alcohol provider for serving a patron the provider knew or should have known was intoxicated. This ruling later became law when the legislature created Section 2.02.
How Alcohol Providers Avoid Liability
Under the Texas Dram Shop Law, alcohol providers are the businesses that employ bartenders, waiters, and other servers. The business is liable for their employee’s conduct – overserving a customer – through the doctrine of respondeat superior. It’s a legal theory that makes employers responsible for their employee’s actions while on duty. It’s also known as vicarious liability.
There are two significant ways these businesses avoid liability:
Safe Harbor Defense
Under Section 106.14 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, a provider can avoid liability if they prove:
- It required all employees to attend a seller training course approved by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
- The employee actually attended the course
- It did not directly or indirectly encourage the employee to violate the law
We Investigate the Provider’s Practices
The Safe Harbor Defense is essential. When we discover the at-fault person was served alcohol somewhere, we investigate that business. We want to know how the business trains its employees and the culture around how much to serve patrons. Looking into the business’ culture is essential. Employee handbooks and policies can say one thing while owners and managers quietly direct bartenders and servers to sell to intoxicated patrons.
This defense isn’t unique to Dram Shop laws. Defendants can use it in all sorts of personal injury and wrongful death claims. Comparative negligence comes up when the defendant blames you for your injuries. They might claim you contributed or are entirely at fault for getting hurt.
Once they raise this defense in court, a jury decides how much each party involve is responsible. It will assign percentages of fault. As long as you are 50% or less at fault, you can win compensation. Your percentage of fault reduces your damages. But if you’re 51% or more at fault, then you won’t receive anything.
Comparative negligence also matters to the provider because they aren’t the only party at fault. The intoxicated person is too. The provider is only responsible for their percentage.
Winning a Dram Shop Claim
It takes evidence and skill to win compensation under the Texas Dram Shop Law. Businesses that serve alcohol know about the law and typically take steps to protect themselves. Also, no server is going to admit to overserving a customer. Our dram shop lawyers carefully investigate the business, its practices and culture, and what happened the day of your accident.
To prove the provider is liable, we have to show the employee who served the recipient knew or should have known they were drunk. Depending on what we learn from eyewitness statements, we may prove it was apparent the recipient was impaired. Maybe they were losing their balance and slurring their words.
But we don’t have to prove the server objectively knew. In other words, we don’t have to show the server saw the recipient behave like they were intoxicated. We can use witness statements about what the recipient was like away from the server. With enough evidence, we can establish that the server should have known.
Witness statements are helpful in these cases. But they aren’t the only evidence we can use. Some places have video footage that can be useful. Or we can hire a toxicology expert who can testify about the recipient’s abilities at a particular level of intoxication.
How Our Fort Worth Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Can Help
Following a car crash involving an intoxicated driver, Anderson Injury Lawyers can help you by:
Conduct an In-Depth Investigation
If you’ve been hurt by a drunk driver, you deserve compensation for your injuries. To win fair compensation, you will need evidence of the at-fault driver’s negligence or recklessness, including evidence of their intoxication. You also will need evidence to establish the type and severity of your injuries. Our drunk driving accident attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation of your circumstances and gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim against the drunk driver.
Negotiating with the Insurer
Insurance companies rarely pay injury victims fairly; on the contrary, their job is to find ways to pay out as little as possible in insurance claims. When you hire our firm, we handle all interactions with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, lowering the risk of an adjuster acting in bad faith, while fighting against unfair settlements.
Calculating the Value of Your Claim
When a drunk driver hits you, it is essential that you understand the value of your claim. We will carefully calculate the value of your physical, psychological, and economic injuries to ensure that when we negotiate a settlement with the insurer, we push for a fair amount. If the insurer refuses to resolve your claim for an appropriate sum, we may recommend that we move forward with the personal injury lawsuit and fight for your compensation at trial.
Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Help
At Anderson Injury Lawyers, we understand how devastating it can be to be hit by a drunk driver. Your car may be totaled. You or a loved one may be injured, or worse yet, you may be grieving the unexpected loss of a relative. An insurance settlement or court ruling in your favor is not going to make up for the drunk driver’s actions. However, pursuing compensation through a settlement or at trial can be the best way to hold the other driver responsible and obtain the financial recovery you need to move on from this accident. Our team of drunk driving accident lawyers has decades of combined personal injury experience and has recovered millions in compensation for our injured clients. Let us help you.