Humble Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Alcohol is a factor in about a third of the fatal vehicle collisions in Texas. The proportion is slightly higher in Humble. Urban sprawl and bad traffic sometimes delay emergency responders two or three minutes. Those few minutes could literally be the difference between life and death.
Scientifically, alcohol impairs judgement skills and slows reflexes. These attributes make alcohol a popular depressant. They also make it extremely dangerous to operate heavy machinery, including a motor vehicle. Alcohol’s impairing effects begin with the first drink.
When accident victims reach out to us, the diligent Humble drunk driving accident attorneys at The West Law Office get to work quickly. First and foremost, we take care of immediate needs, such as medical care and vehicle replacement. Then after we carefully build a claim for damages brick by brick, we never stop fighting for you.
First Party Liability
Victim/plaintiffs in Texas can use direct or circumstantial evidence to establish liability in alcohol-related crash claims.
If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was arrested for DUI, the negligence per se shortcut usually applies. Tortfeasors are typically liable for damages as a matter of law if:
- They violate a safety law, and
- That violation substantially caused injury.
The negligence per se rule applies even if the tortfeasor “beats” the DUI in criminal court. In personal injury claims, the jury determines all relevant facts, including guilt or innocence in a related criminal matter.
As mentioned, alcohol’s impairing effects begin with the first drink. So, many drivers are dangerously impaired but not legally intoxicated. In these situations, victim/plaintiffs can use circumstantial evidence to establish impairment. This evidence includes:
- Erratic driving,
- Toroteasor’s statements about alcohol consumption,
- Bloodshot eyes,
- Odor of alcohol, and
- Unsteady balance.
These victim/plaintiffs must establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). That’s the lowest standard of proof in Texas. So, a little evidence goes a long way.
Third Party Liability
Drunk driving is not just a case-by-case issue. It is a society-wide problem. Texas’ dram shop law addresses this angle of this problem.
Many states have abolished or scaled back their dram shop laws in recent years. Lawmakers claim these statutes undercut personal responsibility. More likely, however, they caved in to the hospitality industry lobbyists.
Despite these pressures, Texas still has an extremely broad dram shop law. Bars, restaurants, private clubs, and other commercial alcohol providers are vicariously liable for car crash damages if the tortfeasor was “obviously intoxicated” at the time of the sale. Much of the aforementioned impairment circumstantial evidence is admissible in these situations.
Noncommercial providers, such as party hosts, might be vicariously liable for damages as well, under a theory like negligent undertaking.
In all these alcohol-related crash scenarios, damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages might be available as well, in extreme cases like a very high BAC level and prior DUIs.
Reach Out to a Savvy Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Alcohol-related vehicle collisions often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney in Humble, contact The West Law Office, PLLC. Home and hospital visits are available.