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Who are the possible responsible parties in drunk driving accidents?

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Car Accidents |

Drunk driving incidents pose a severe threat in Texas, causing countless injuries and fatalities annually. If you find yourself or a loved one impacted by such an incident, it is crucial to understand who may be held responsible for the resulting losses.

Intoxicated driver

The primary party at fault in a drunk driving accident is the impaired driver. Driving while intoxicated in Texas is a criminal offense. In addition to criminal charges, a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver can be pursued to seek compensation for damages, encompassing medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering and wrongful death. Punitive damages, aiming to penalize and deter similar behavior, may also be sought.

Employer of the intoxicated driver

In certain instances, the intoxicated driver might be acting within their employment scope during the accident. For instance, if driving a company vehicle or attending a work-related event, the employer may bear vicarious liability under the doctrine of respondeat superior. This holds the employer responsible for the negligence of their employees while performing job duties.

Establishment serving alcohol

Texas enforces the Dram Shop Act (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code 2.02), permitting victims of drunk driving accidents to sue establishments that served alcohol to an obviously intoxicated individual that poses a danger. This law applies to various businesses selling alcohol for on-premises or off-premises consumption. Punitive damages may be sought if the establishment displayed gross negligence or malice.

Social host providing alcohol

Similarly, under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code 2.02, in Texas allows victims to sue social hosts who provide alcohol to minors under 18 without parental supervision. This pertains to individuals hosting gatherings where alcohol is accessible to minors. Punitive damages can be sought for gross negligence or malice displayed by the social host.

Understanding the potential responsible parties in drunk driving accidents is essential for pursuing legal avenues to obtain rightful compensation for the losses suffered. If you or someone you know has been affected, this knowledge is invaluable.