Cinco Ranch Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Despite a decades-long crackdown against drunk drivers, alcohol still causes about a third of the fatal car accidents in Texas. That’s about the same percentage as it was in the 1980s, before the crackdown began. Additionally, alcohol-related crash death rates are somewhat higher in Texas, mostly because victims are usually a few minutes further away from the nearest hospital than they are in other states. That few minutes could literally be the difference between life and death.
At the West Law Office, our experienced Cinco Ranch drunk driving accident attorneys routinely handle these matters in Harris County and nearby jurisdictions. So, we are fully aware of all the procedural rules, including the unwritten ones. Furthermore, because of our experience, we have developed proven methods which ensure maximum compensation for these injury victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
First Party Liability
Generally, injury victims could obtain compensation via the ordinary negligence route or the negligence per se shortcut. Alcohol-related collisions are a good example of the difference between these two doctrines.
Most people are legally intoxicated after they have three or four drinks. But dangerous alcohol impairment begins at the first drink. This impairment includes slow motor skills and an artificial sense of euphoria. This combination might be fun at a party, but it’s often deadly on the road. Evidence of impairment includes:
- Erratic driving prior to the wreck,
- Tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) previous schedule (e. g. was the tortfeasor recently at a bar or other place which served alcohol),
- Physical symptoms, such as bloodshot eyes or unsteady balance, and
- Tortfeasor’s statements to witnesses or emergency responders about alcohol consumption.
The burden of proof in an ordinary negligence claim is only a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. That’s the lowest burden of proof in Texas law.
If authorities charge the tortfeasor with DUI, the negligence per se shortcut could apply. There is no need for victim/plaintiffs to independently establish negligence if:
- The tortfeasor broke a safety law, and
- That violation caused injury.
Evidence could be relevant to the amount of damages. Normally, the more evidence a victim/plaintiff presents, the more damages jurors award.
Third Party Liability
Many states have limited or eliminated their dram shop laws in recent years. These laws hold bars, restaurants, and other commercial alcohol providers vicariously liable for car crash and other negligence damages. Liability attaches if the provider was intoxicated and presented a danger to himself/herself or others.
The aforementioned circumstantial evidence is admissible on this point. As for endangerment, if an intoxicated person walks to the bathroom, s/he is a danger to himself/herself or others.
Foreseeability is sometimes difficult for a Cinco Ranch drunk driving accident attorney to prove in packaged alcohol sales. However, it’s usually foreseeable that an intoxicated person will open a can of beer and have a few sips on the way home.
Section 2.01 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code only applies to commercial sales. Party hosts and other noncommercial providers might be vicariously liable for damages as well, under a separate theory like negligent undertaking.
Work with a Savvy Fort Bend County Lawyer
Personal injury victims deserve fair compensation for their serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Cinco Ranch personal injury attorney, contact The West Law Office. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.