This guide explores who may be legally responsible after a DWI injury accident in Texas.
Who Else May Be Responsible?
It is no secret that drunk driving accidents tend to be of the more serious variety, involving a serious injury or even death. A large percentage of all fatal accidents involve alcohol.The following is a list of potential parties to a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit involving alcohol. A prudent attorney will investigate as necessary to achieve justice for their clients.
BARS OR CLUBS- ALCOHOL PROVIDERS
In Texas, we have a statute known as Dram Shop Act, which provides the statutory authority for pursuit of civil lawsuits against bars or clubs that over serve patrons who are involved in accidents as a result of their intoxication. The burden of proof can vary greatly in a "Dram Shop" case depending on the defenses available to the alcohol provider under the law.If there is evidence that the drunk driver had been at a bar or a club prior to the accident and the insurance available under all the auto policies ( the drunk driver and any UM coverage) may be insufficient to compensate the victim, an early investigation into the facts and circumstances regarding the providing of alcohol to the drunk driver can be very important in a Dram Shop case.
Generally, in Texas, there is no social host liability for providing alcohol to adults. However, a recent case out of the 14th Court of Appeals may provide a basis for a cause of action against the social host under a negligent undertaking pleading. While the law continues to evolve on this issue, in some very limited circumstances, social hosts might be held accountable for a drunk driving accident in Texas.
There are many people who entertain as part of their profession as a method to "wine and dine" customers in an effort to obtain or retain business. In some instances, an employer may be held accountable for the conduct of their employee in consuming alcohol in the course and scope of employment.
Another avenue for potential justice for a drunk driving accident victim is consideration on whether or not a vehicle or instrumentality contributed to the accident or contributed to cause the injuries. The doctrine of crashworthiness is one that stands for the proposition that if a product was defectively designed, and it contributed to the injuries of an otherwise foreseeable accident, in limited circumstances the manufacturer may be held accountable for their design defect.While, not every case is appropriate for design defect, in certain cases the investigating attorney may look at the car or pickup truck to determine whether or not it played a part in the injuries sustained in the accident. Only very serious injuries or wrongful death cases would be appropriate for this type of claim.
The sooner an initial evaluation of a drunk driver accident case takes place the more likely that there may be some justice for the victim. Dram Shop cases and also manufacturers responsibility or product liability cases are most appropriately handled by attorneys who have substantial experience in both type of cases. Victims of a drunk driving accident that include serious injuries or the loss of a family member, should contact an experienced DWI accident attorney as soon as possible and take steps to preserve the vehicle and also obtain as much information as they can from the investigating authorities relating to the drunk driver.
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