A drunk driving accident can wreak havoc on your life. While it can certainly leave you with extensive physical pain and suffering, the financial realities of one of these wrecks can leave you with significant money woes, and the emotional turmoil thrust upon you can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you might be able to recover compensation for your losses through a personal injury lawsuit, but that’s not always an easy task.
One problem often faced in these in cases is recovering the full extent of your damages. After all, the harm caused to you could be quite extensive, including significant medical expenses, lost wages, lost earnings capacity, and noneconomic damages like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Although you might be able to impose liability against and recover compensation from a drunk driver, the reality is that this individual may not have the financial resources to provide you with compensation that you need and deserve. That’s why you might also want to consider how existing dram shop laws apply to your situation.
How Texas’s dram shop laws work
Under Texas law, a bar or other retailer can be held accountable for injuries caused in a drunk driving accident if it knowingly served alcohol to a patron that was obviously intoxicated and that intoxication led to the wreck in question. This law is meant to prevent drunk driving, but the sad reality is that liquor-serving establishments violate this law all the time. It’s important to note, though, that this law only applies to businesses that overserve individuals. It does not apply to those who serve alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person if that person was a social guest at the server’s home.
Why dram shop laws are important to you
If you can establish that a bar, nightclub, or restaurant served an obviously intoxicated individual who caused your accident, then you will probably be able to access a much larger pool of resources that are much more likely to cover the full extent of your damages. It’s for this reason that you’ll probably want to file your claim against the drunk driver who caused your accident as well as the establishment that served him or her alcohol prior to that wreck.
Proving your dram shop case
The first step in proving your dram shop case is demonstrating that the driver who caused the accident was in fact intoxicated at the time of the crash. Police records and officer observations can go a long way here, especially if a breath and/or blood test was taken showing a blood alcohol content that is above the legal limit.
Once you’ve shown intoxication, then you’ll need to address the establishment where that driver was drinking beforehand. You may need to investigate the driver’s financial transactions prior to the accident to determine where he or she was drinking, if he or she isn’t forthcoming in a deposition, and you may need an expert who can attest to the fact that the driver would have presented as intoxicated while he or she was in the bar. You may even be able to track down witnesses from the establishment who can help you paint a visual picture of how the driver was acting at the time that he or she was served additional alcohol.
Fight to recover the compensation you deserve
If you’ve been hurt in a drunk driving accident, then you’ve been hit with damages that you don’t deserve. Fortunately, you don’t have to sit back and just accept those losses as reality. Instead, you can fight to find accountability and recover the compensation that you need and deserve. If the thought of legal action is stressful to you, though, then you may want to consider reaching out to a legal professional who can help you navigate your claim and best position yourself for success.