If you (or someone you know) have been victimized in an accident involving a drunk driver, the team at Shamieh Law would like to offer you condolences and support. As a Dallas drunk driving accident attorney, we know all too well the trauma caused by careless drunk drivers. But drunk driving doesn’t exist within a vacuum.
In DWI accident cases, there may be a number of irresponsible actions taken by multiple parties which contributed to the catastrophe. Today, we’ll unpack the laws that determine who may be at fault when it comes to drunk driving, and why the victims should be represented by a specialized drunk driving accident attorney.
Sobering Stats on Drunk Driving
In 2015, 290,000 people became DWI victims and 10,900 of them lost their lives, reported Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Sadly, MADD also found drunk drivers killed almost 1,500 victims in alcohol-related accidents in Texas in 2016. That means that every 6 hours, a Texan is victimized by a drunk driver.
DWI Danger Increases After Dark for You & Officers
The saying goes, “Don’t drive after midnight. The only people out at that hour are cops and drunks.” There are stats to backup that statement. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more people drive drunk between midnight and 3 a.m. than any other time. So it is unfortunate, but not unexpected, when police officers become drunk driving victims.
Such was the case earlier this year, when Hurst police officer Brandon Minchew was injured in a DWI accident. While the officer blocked lanes of a previous accident, the back passenger side of his SUV was struck by a 22-year-old drunk driver coming down the 100 block of Loop 820.
The driver was arrested, Minchew was treated for multiple injuries at a nearby hospital. It just goes to show that even the most alert cop can be blindsided by a drunk driver.
Lawmakers Try to Make a Difference
These are grim odds, but the situation was even worse in 1980, when MADD was founded. At that time, more than 25,000 people died in drunk driving accidents each year.
Drunk driving was rampant, so laws were put into place to make the vendors or hosts serving alcohol responsible for the actions of their patrons/guests.
In other words, you couldn’t get somebody wasted in order to make a profit–and if you did, you’d be held legally responsible for a portion of liability. These laws are known as dram shop laws.
“I’m so thankful to Ramez for everything he did in my case.
He was extremely aggressive and gave me updates on my case when I least expected it.
He is the top personal injury attorney in Dallas.”
What are Dram Shop Laws?
Dram shop laws take their name from a “dram,” a unit of alcohol measurement. A dram shop is any venue, bar or club that serves alcohol. These laws hold venue owners responsible if they serve people who are visibly intoxicated and presenting a clear danger to themselves or others. They allow drunk driving victims or their families to sue the establishment where a drunk driver became intoxicated. If a minor drives drunk after becoming intoxicated in someone’s home, the social host may be held responsible.
Before you argue that it’s not the bartender’s job to babysit customers, remember that dram shop laws don’t mean drunk drivers are off the hook. Drivers are still responsible for their actions. But dram shop laws assign a portion of that responsibility to establishments. Dram shop laws ensure that venues are following the proper rules and earning their privilege to serve alcohol responsibly.
Dram Shop Laws in Action
Take the case of Meagan Watkins. The 22-year-old left Dixie Dance Hall in Beaumont, Texas, and drove her car while intoxicated. She struck a tow truck, which was stopped in the road due to a police barricade, and died at the scene.
Watkins’ parents sued Dixie Dance Hall for serving alcohol to their daughter, who they claim was visibly intoxicated, under Texas’ Dram Shop Act. As a result of this and other lawsuits, the owner of Dixie Dance Hall closed this club, as well as six other venues.
“A drunk driver changed my life.
I was seriously injured and needed serious legal counsel. I fired my previous accident attorney because nothing was getting done and decided to hire Ramez. After hiring Ramez, things started to change for the better. He was able to get me an excellent settlement, and I am starting to get my life back.”
But Watkins’ parents weren’t the only ones to file suit. The driver of the tow truck sustained knee, back and chest injuries, as well as mental anguish. He, too, claims Dixie Dance Hall is liable under Texas dram shop laws. “The Dixie breached its duties by serving Watkins when she was clearly intoxicated and presented a clear danger to herself and others,” he argues.
So as you can see, even drunk driving cases that seem cut-and-dry can be surprisingly complex. Always consult a drunk driving accident attorney to determine liability.
How a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Can Help
During our investigation of a drunk driving accident, we research all possible sources of recovery, including potentially suing the bar who over served the driver. Our firm will investigate all applicable insurance policies to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages for which you are entitled compensation. If necessary, our firm will file a civil lawsuit to protect your legal rights and seek financial justice.
Drunk driving accident attorney Ramez Shamieh understands the criminal system often fails to provide DWI victims with equal justice. The Team at Shamieh Law will work tirelessly to investigate and provide prosecutors with all the evidence possible to put the criminal behind bars.
Whether you live in Fort Worth, Plano, Dallas or Mesquite, Shamieh Law can assist you and your family.
Contact Shamieh Law
A DWI accident can cause serious injuries and possible death. Typically, the greater the injury to the DWI victim, the greater the amount of lost wages and unpaid medical bills. It’s important to have an aggressive drunk driving accident attorney who can help you get back on your feet financially.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a DWI car accident in Dallas or the surrounding area, contact us now to protect your legal rights. Shamieh Law offers a free case evaluation to anyone wrongfully injured in Texas or Louisiana, regardless of their ability to pay. Call 214-888-3333.