Midland Dram Shop LawyersLast updated on: August 1, 2022
Speak with Compassionate Midland dram shop lawyers today at (800) 863-5312
Twenty-four million Americans consume more than ten drinks a day. This might seem like a staggering statistic, but it should come as no surprise then that about one and a half million people are arrested for drunk driving each year. Often, drunk driving comes at a cost to more than just the driver. Midland dram shop lawyers help those who were injured by drunk drivers.
If you or a loved one were the victim of a drunk driver, a lawyer might be able to help you get your life back on track. Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group provide free consultations to people who were injured in drunk driving accidents. Call (800) 863-5312 to let us answer your questions and see how we can help in your unique case.
How a Midland drunk driving accident attorney can help you
You might feel as though you have an open-and-shut case and question whether you truly need an attorney to help. Perhaps you could do all the laborious research and paperwork yourself. However, going pro se—representing yourself—might not make as much sense as it seems at first.
You might be biased about your claim and think that you could get a settlement even though the evidence you have is not particularly convincing. On the other hand, perhaps you think you could file your claim, but you are not sure whether the amount of compensation you would receive would be worth the effort you would put into the case. An attorney can help you at this step by listening to your account of the accident and comparing your case with others he or she has seen. Then, the lawyer can advise you on whether to move forward.
Studies have shown that pro se litigants tend to have worse outcomes than litigants who hired attorneys. Even lawyers hire other lawyers to represent them. In sum, a Midland drunk driving accident lawyer provides objectivity, experience, knowledge, and efficiency, saving you time and effort overall.
A Lawyer Can Explain Midland’s Dram Shop Laws
A lawyer knows which laws will affect your case and which strategies you should use to put together a strong claim. If the accident happened more than two years ago, your case might be expired, and you could be barred from recovery due to Texas’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases. This is just one of many procedural laws you must know when filing your claim.
Your strategy-oriented questions, like, “Can I sue a bar?” can lead to productive conversations with your lawyer about whom to sue and what causes of action to list in the claim. In an accident with a drunk driver, you will likely cite negligence as your primary cause of action. Under a theory of negligence, you must show that the driver or bar owed you a duty of care; that the driver or bar breached that duty of care; and that you received a compensable injury from the breach.
After you have filed your claim, expect to receive a response from the defendant. In that answer, the defendant will agree or disagree with elements of your claim and will list counterclaims or affirmative defenses. The defendant lists counterclaims to allege that you are the party at fault or affirmative defenses to admit to your allegations but provide a reason that exempts him or herself from liability.
A Lawyer Can Help You Gather Evidence
The next step of litigation is called discovery. Discovery is often the longest part of litigation because it can involve an incredible level of detail. During discovery, you will gather as much information as you can to showcase the seriousness of your injury, the amount of financial loss you suffered from the accident, and the emotional suffering you endured. As you can imagine, this encapsulates a wide variety of materials.
The defendant, on the other hand, will gather information to disprove your claim, if possible. The defendant could try to find weaknesses in your theories or witnesses whose recollection of the accident does not align with yours. The defendant will bring these factors to light during negotiation. However, you should not be blindsided by this information because the plaintiff and defendant must share most of the information they uncover during discovery with the other side.
Specifically, the types of evidence you could gather during discovery include the documentation from your doctor visits, any other financial loss you experienced, and interviews with witnesses. Your lawyer might also find it helpful to hire an expert witness to attest to the effects of alcohol on a person’s ability to drive. While an expert witness will not have seen your accident firsthand, he or she can evaluate aspects of your case based on his or her experience and opinions.
Read more: Why is an Expert Witness Needed for My Case?
A Midland Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Can Help Negotiate a Settlement
You should have all the information you need to support your case when discovery concludes. Then it is time to use that information to negotiate a settlement with the other side. A skilled attorney can compare your case with the cases of past clients to determine how much your case should be worth and therefore how much you should accept in a settlement. The decision of whether to accept a settlement offer will always be yours.
If one of your defendants is the alcohol provider, it will likely be heavily insured. Those insurance companies have their own representatives to reduce the companies’ liability for the accident. If your defendant is an insured driver, you could face similar, although somewhat less intimidating circumstances. The defendant’s lawyers may try to reduce liability by making counterarguments that you were partially at fault for the accident or by raising explanations for their defense; but your attorney can prepare for such.
If you do not accept a settlement offer, you may need to go to trial. At trial, a jury will determine the facts of the case by accepting a version of the accident story and awarding damages based on that version. Speak with your lawyer about whether you should accept a settlement offer or try the riskier option of going to trial.
Read more: Dram Shop Lawyer
Five things to do after a midland drunk driving accident
You might be feeling overwhelmed if you have just been in a drunk driving accident, and you might not be sure where to turn. You can use these steps as a checklist to make sure that you have done all of the crucial things you need to do to preserve your case before talking to a Midland drunk driving accident lawyer. If you have not been in a drunk driving accident, you might still find these steps instructive in preparing yourself in case you are ever in an accident with a drunk driver.
1. Call the Police to Report the Accident
Call 911 as soon as you are sure the other driver is alright. If the other driver is not alright, call 911 to get him or her the emergency medical treatment needed.
If the other driver is obviously drunk, you might not have another chance to prove it if you do not call the police. When you call, tell the policeman that the other driver appears drunk. The officer who arrives to create the accident report should breathalyze the other driver and include the results in the report.
Also included in the report should be the reporting officer’s opinions about how the accident happened and who caused it. If the other driver was drunk at the time of the accident and the reporting officer was able to witness and record that information, the driver’s drunkenness should at least be a contributing factor to determining fault for the accident.
The crash report will become public record after a few days, and you can request it online. You can and should use the information in the crash report to support your case, but you should also create your own record of the crash yourself.
The other driver might protest police involvement if he or she knows that he or she is drunk and at fault for the accident. The driver might try to talk you out of calling the police by assuring you that he or she will pay for any damage from the accident. However, you do not know how much your case is worth until you have had the chance to collect the evidence and evaluate the facts. Additionally, letting that driver get away with driving while intoxicated could lead to that driver harming more victims in the future.
2. Ask the Other Driver to Exchange Contact Information
Next, make sure you have the other driver’s contact information, including his or her name, address, phone number, and insurance information. The driver might not provide this information directly to you out of fear that you might file suit against him or her. If this happens to you, do not panic. Simply access the police report online.
3. Take Pictures of the Accident Scene
As part of your own record of the accident, take pictures of the scene of the crash. Snap frames of the damage to your vehicle along with pictures of the accident location or anything unusual about the scene. If the other driver is acting belligerently before the police officer arrives, take a video of his or her behavior.
4. Go to the Doctor
If you require emergency care, call an ambulance before doing anything else. Even if you did not require emergency attention, you should visit the doctor soon after the accident anyway for two reasons: First, you will need evidence that you suffered an injury from the crash, and this can be difficult to prove unless you have documentation from your doctor. Second, you could have received an internal injury or one that seems trivial but gets worse as it goes untreated.
Visiting your doctor in a timely manner also helps account for your financial loss and pain and suffering after the accident. You will need to be able to calculate these damages to arrive at a settlement agreement or to show a jury how much compensation you deserve. Important pieces of evidence pertaining to your injury include medical bills, treatment and diagnoses, and physical or occupational therapy.
5. Consult with a Midland Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
After the first four steps, you should have enough information to tell a lawyer the basic information about your case. A Midland drunk driving accident attorney can use the information you provide to let you know whether you should sue. If you think you have made it to this step, speak with a Zinda Law Group lawyer to learn about how you should move forward.
How do Midland dram shop laws affect your case?
Dram Shop Laws Generally
There two kinds of dram shop laws, each aimed at helping the victim of a bar that overserves a customer. In first-person dram shop laws, the customer has a cause of action against the bar. In third-person dram shop laws, the person who was affected by the customer (who got into a car crash or a fight) has a cause of action against the bar.
Midland Dram Shop Laws
Texas’s statute is broad enough to encompass first-person and third-person dram shop laws. Some states’ dram shop laws hold a social host accountable when party guests drive home drunk. However, Texas usually only holds people or entities accountable when they have a license to sell alcohol.
what is the bar’s liability for alcohol injuries?
A bar’s liability for drunk driving will be similar to that of the drunk driver. Such liability usually includes covering your economic damages and non-economic damages. In cases in which victims are seriously hurt, liability can include punitive damages.
Economic damages are the financial loss you experienced after the accident, including your medical bills and missed wages from time you had to take off work. Non-economic damages can be harder to calculate since they do not come with a receipt or timesheet. They cover the pain and suffering you experienced because of the crash. Punitive damages punish the defendant and deter the driver or bartender from repeating those actions.
Speak with our Midland dram shop lawyers at Zinda law group
If you were hit by someone who drank too much before getting behind the wheel, you deserve compensation for your injuries. One of our experienced Midland drunk driving accident attorneys can help you decide whether you should file against the driver who harmed you or the bar that overserved that driver. Let a Zinda Law Group attorney step in as a guide in your case and take on your concerns, questions, and the emotional weight of the legal process.
If you have been footing the bill for your injuries that someone else caused, it is time to see whether you could receive that money back. You have likely been suffering more than just strict monetary damages though. The injury might have taken away your livelihood or your ability to spend time with friends and family. Call us at (800) 863-5312 to learn about your chances of recovering for your financial loss and emotional suffering.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.