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Can a Bar/Nightclub Be Responsible for Alcohol Poisoning?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Alcohol poisoning is a serious and potentially fatal condition in which too much alcohol replaces the oxygen in the blood. It can occur from drinking too much alcohol too quickly. Alcohol poisoning can affect your body temperature, heart rate and breathing. In severe cases, alcohol poisoning can cause coma and death. In Texas, if a bartender or alcohol vendor overserves an obviously intoxicated person too much alcohol, the state’s dram shop law could hold the business responsible for related incidents and injuries, including alcohol poisoning. To learn more, get help from a Dallas dram shop liability attorney.

Is Dram Shop Only Related to Car Accidents?

Texas’ dram shop law, Alcohol Beverage Code Chapter 2, states that an alcohol provider could be liable for damages if it was apparent at the time of providing the alcoholic beverage that the recipient was obviously intoxicated to the point of posing a risk to him/herself or others, and if the intoxication of the recipient was the proximate cause of damages suffered. Although the most common use of the dram shop law is to prove alcohol vendor liability for a drunk driving accident, the statute can apply to many other alcohol-related accidents as well. The law does not specifically name auto accidents as the only incident with recovery available. It simply states that the vendor could be liable for damages suffered.

Does Dram Shop Cover Alcohol Poisoning, Slip and Fall or Wrongful Death?

Dram shop laws exist because those in positions to serve alcohol could effectively prevent drunk driving accidents, assaults and other alcohol-related incidents by cutting off the recipient. Holding alcohol vendors responsible for how much they serve could potentially help prevent overserving patrons, as well as the accidents they cause. The dram shop law in Texas can apply to any damages an intoxicated person causes, including assaulting someone else or causing a drunk driving accident. The intoxicated person, however, cannot use the dram shop law to hold the alcohol vendor liable for his or her own damages.

Although the dram shop law may not apply, a drunken individual could have a case based on negligence against the bar, restaurant or nightclub guilty of overserving him or her. Every establishment has a duty of care, or legal obligation, to reasonably look out for the safety of its patrons. This obligation can come with many specific duties, including a duty not to overserve obviously intoxicated patrons. If an employee of the establishment negligently overserves a person, and that person suffers injuries such as alcohol poisoning, a slip and fall accident or wrongful death, the victim or his or her family may have grounds for a negligence claim.

Dram Shop Liability Law

A negligence claim against a bar or nightclub for overserving must prove through a preponderance of evidence that the establishment owed the victim a duty of care, breached this duty by overserving the victim, and that this breach is what caused the victim’s damages. The victim may also have a claim based on premises liability if a dangerous property element caused the accident, such as beer-soaked floors or inadequate security. A claim can demand compensation for damages such as physical injuries, medical bills, property damage, emotional distress, lost wages and legal fees.

Can I File a Dram Shop Claim if Alcohol Was Served to a Minor?

Texas’ dram shop law also applies to the serving of alcohol to a minor (someone under the age of 18) in some situations. If the alcohol vendor was an adult 21 years of age or older and was not the intoxicated individual’s parent, guardian, spouse or someone keeping custody of the minor, the adult could be liable for the minor’s intoxication. The adult must have knowingly furnished the minor with alcohol or allowed someone else to serve the minor alcohol on a premises the adult owned. If someone served your underage child alcohol and he or she suffered alcohol poisoning, you may have a case against the bartender, establishment, individual or social host. Speak to an injury attorney about a potential lawsuit right away.

Posted by admin at 4:52 pm

Can a Bar Be Responsible for a DUI Accident?

Monday, November 25, 2019

Drunk driving is a rampant problem in Texas and throughout the U.S. In 2018, driving under the influence (DUI) in Texas caused fatal accidents that killed 940 people. Drunk driving accounted for 26% of the total number of motor vehicle crash deaths in Texas in 2018. Most people know they can hold the drunk driver responsible for a drunk driving accident, but may not know the bar or establishment that furnished the DUI driver with alcohol could also share liability depending on the situation. If you were injured by an intoxicated individual get help from a Dallas dram shop liability attorney.

Dram Shop Liability Laws

Like most states, Texas has a dram shop law in place that holds alcohol providers, such as bars and restaurants, responsible for drunk driving accidents in certain situations. The law states that selling, serving or providing alcoholic beverages could be grounds for a cause of action after an accident if certain circumstances exist. First, it must have been clear at the time of the dram shop offering the alcohol that the person was obviously intoxicated to an extent that he or she posed a danger to him/herself or others. Second, the person’s intoxication from the alcohol furnished must have been the proximate cause of the accident in question.

An adult 21 or older could also be liable for the actions of an intoxicated person if the drunk person was a minor under the age of 18, and if the furnishing adult was not the minor’s spouse, parent or guardian. The adult must have knowingly served, or allowed someone else to serve, the underage individual alcohol that contributed to the individual’s intoxication. Texas’ dram shop law can apply to any provider that served an obviously intoxicated person alcohol before he or she drove a vehicle and got into a DUI accident.

Can a Distributor of Alcohol Be Accountable for Accidents Involving Intoxication?

Yes, a distributor of alcohol can be legally accountable for car accidents and other incidents involving someone’s intoxication. A Dallas DUI accident could come down to the shared liability of both the drunk driver and the dram shop that provided the driver with alcohol if the shop knew or reasonably should have known the individual was already intoxicated, yet served the person alcohol anyway, and if this was the proximate cause of the drunk driving accident. If another bar or restaurant would not have served the person alcohol in the same circumstances, the dram shop could be liable for a resultant drunk driving accident.

Under Texas’ dram shop laws, DUI accidents are not the only incidents for which an alcohol provider may be liable if it sells alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person. The bar or distributor could also be liable for alcohol-related incidents such as brawls, assaults, violence and fall accidents. For example, if a distributor gives alcohol to Person A despite Person A’s obvious drunkenness, and Person A starts a fight with Person B, the bar could be liable for Person B’s injuries and hospital bills.

Obvious intoxication refers to a level of drunkenness that a prudent and reasonable alcohol furnisher would notice. This could include common signs of intoxication such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, stumbling while walking or smelling of alcohol. If an individual did not exhibit signs of intoxication or had an unusually low tolerance, however, the bar or restaurant may not be liable for furnishing the individual with more alcohol, even if that person went on to cause a drunk driving accident.

What Other Establishments Can Be Held Responsible?

Any establishment that furnishes alcohol to an intoxicated person who causes a drunk driving accident could be legally responsible for damages. This can include a bar, restaurant, gas station, grocery store, social host or individual. Any provider that sells or serves alcoholic beverages using an alcohol license or permit could be responsible if the intoxicated person drives and causes a car accident. An establishment can be vicariously responsible for the actions of its employees, as well, including bartenders and waiters. Find out if you have a case against a dram shop in Texas by talking to an attorney.

Posted by admin at 4:48 pm

Summer Camp Injuries and Illness: Who is Responsible?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer is here, and kids are celebrating the end of the school year and packing up for camp. New friends, outdoor activities, and time spent away from home to encourage independence are among the many benefits of a summer at camp. Nationwide, there are 7,000 overnight camps and about 5,000 day camps in the U.S., attended by some 11 million campers, according to the American Camp Association (ACA).

As parents, you are trusting your children to the supervision of others when you send them off to camp. Hopefully, you’ve done your research and selected a camp with a great reputation and track record of many summers without incident. Nevertheless, accidents do happen at camp. Most are minor scrapes and cuts, but serious injuries and illnesses can occur. When they do, who is responsible?

The Camp’s Duty of Care to its Campers

In most cases, the camp has a duty to keep it’s campers reasonably safe, under the legal theory of premises liability. The camp’s grounds should be maintained free of hazards, and the activities should be age appropriate, not unduly dangerous, and well supervised. The camp owes a duty to its campers and their families to review its programs and facilities to minimize injury risks. When the owner, operator, or a staff member of the camp fails in its duty to create and maintain a safe environment, and a serious accident or injury occurs, a parent might successfully sue the camp for their child’s injuries.

Types of Injuries and Illnesses that Occur at Camp

  • Communicable diseases: Kids sleep in fairly close quarters and as with any time youngsters come together in groups, germs get passed from one to another. Most common are respiratory infections and gastro-enteritis, “stomach flu.” Most of these are minor and pass within a few days. In the rare instance of a serious outbreak of a life-threatening disease, such as measles or meningitis, depending on the circumstances, the camp’s vaccination requirements, and how the first case was handled, it might be possible to prove negligence and hold the camp liable for the cost of medical care, pain and suffering, and any long-term damage to the child’s health.
  • Slip, trip, and fall accidents: If a child slips or trips and falls because of some hazardous condition at the camp, the owners may be held liable for any injuries that occur, if it can be shown that they were negligent in maintaining the premises in a reasonably safe condition, and that they caused or allowed a hazardous condition to exist, under the legal theory of premises liability.
  • Injuries resulting from the failure to use appropriate protective equipment: Team sports, horseback riding, and cycling are among the camp activities that require protective gear. If the camp either does not provide the gear or does not enforce its use, they may be held liable for your child’s injuries.
  • Injuries resulting from lack of supervision: There’s no telling what kind of trouble kids can get into when left unsupervised. When you send your child to camp, you rely on the staff to provide appropriate supervision. It is the camp’s responsibility to provide it. The camp can be held liable for serious injuries or deaths (drowning, for example) brought about by lack of supervision of the campers.
  • Inherently dangerous camp activities: Horseback riding, football, capture the flag, wilderness hiking, and other activities common at camp come with inherent dangers for kids who participate. You will usually be required to sign a release of liability form. If the camp has provided adequate training, supervision, and protective gear, they will probably not be held liable for a child’s injury in an activity with inherent danger. However, if they were lax in any of the above, you might have a case.
  • Sexual or physical abuse of children due to failure of camp to screen staff: The camp is responsible for ensuring that the people they hire to supervise and guide the children are of good character. They should perform thorough background checks to determine if there any red flags that might indicate an applicant is not fit to be around children. Needless to say, a conviction for a violent crime, domestic abuse, or a sex offense should preclude hiring someone. If any sort of child physical or sexual abuse occurs at the hands of a staff member, the camp may be held liable for wrongful hiring and failure to properly investigate those who will care for the kids.

If Your Child’s Injury is More than a Minor One

Children are prone to injuries, and some types of injuries will inevitably occur at camp. The good news is that most camps have on-site healthcare providers and adhere to national camp standards requiring the presence of a licensed healthcare provider present around the clock to deal with most common illnesses and injuries as they occur.

Depending on the specific circumstances, the camp may or may not be held liable for serious injuries, depending on the specific situation in which the harm occurred. If your child suffered a serious injury or illness at a day or sleep-away camp that could have been prevented, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney to learn what legal options might be available.

Posted by admin at 8:49 pm

What Is the Texas Dram Shop Law?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

When one person injures another, the injured party may seek compensation for his or her injuries and associated expenses by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the person who injured him or her. In some situations, a third-party may share some of the blame. This third-party may not have directly contributed to the injury-causing incident, but his or her involvement enabled the defendant (the person being sued) to commit the action.

One of the most prevalent examples of this situation would be a bar or other establishment that serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated patron. In Texas, the laws meant to prevent such incidents are known as dram shop laws.

How Do Dram Shop Claims Work?

Any establishment or “social host” that provides alcohol to guests may be held responsible for any injuries that those guests cause to others after they leave the premises. Additionally, liquor stores and other alcohol vendors can be held responsible for damages in some cases, including any instance of alcohol being sold or given to anyone under the age of 18 or any instance of providing alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person.

A “social host” describes any individual who knowingly supplies alcohol to individuals under the age of 18. This does not apply to parents – a parent cannot be held accountable as a social host if his or her child injures another person due to intoxication. Under Texas laws, social hosts include any adult who is not a parent, legal guardian, or spouse of the minor under 18. Social host laws also apply to individuals who knowingly serve alcohol to minors under 18 or permit alcohol consumption by minors under 18 on his or her property.

Damages

As with any other personal injury case, a personal injury lawsuit involving dram shop laws can provide the injured party with various forms of compensation, including:

  • Medical expenses. Compensation for medical costs can include emergency response services and care, hospital bills, the costs of any necessary subsequent treatments (such as physical therapy or reconstructive surgeries), prescription costs, and any other medical expenses resulting from the incident.
  • Pain and suffering. The plaintiff’s attorney will consult with medical professionals who will act as expert witnesses. Expert witnesses have no personal involvement in a case, but instead, provide their expertise to the court to help a jury determine how an injury affected the plaintiff. Although it sounds difficult to quantify physical pain and emotional trauma with a dollar figure, expert witness testimony allows a court to determine a reasonable amount of compensation.
  • Lost income. If an injury prevents the plaintiff from returning to work for an extended period, he or she can claim lost wages as compensation. If an incident results in a permanent disability that prevents the plaintiff from resuming his or her job permanently, he or she can sue for the income that he or she would have reasonably expected to earn in the future.
  • Property damage. This includes damage to a vehicle or destroyed personal belongings.

Cases involving dram shop laws often involve extensive investigation, such as interviewing patrons and staff of the establishment who saw the intoxicated individual, security footage from the establishment, and consultations with expert witnesses. An attorney is crucial for successfully navigating any personal injury case and any case involving Texas dram shop laws – which will likely be complex.

The individual directly responsible for the incident and the establishment that served alcohol to the individual can both be held accountable for the incident. For example, if you were struck by a drunk driver and injured, you can sue the driver for compensation for the damages listed above. Additionally, if that driver just left a bar that continued to serve him or her alcohol after he or she was visibly drunk, the bar can also be held accountable for contributing to the incident.

Posted by admin at 5:27 pm

How Do You Prove that Another Driver’s Negligence Caused You to Do Something that Resulted in an Accident?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Countless cases – whether they’re settled out of court or go before a jury – hinge on proving negligence. In some situations, even a driver who hit another vehicle may have done so only because of a third party’s neglect. For instance, a person driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol may indirectly cause an accident. That individual, however, may be found fully accountable for all subsequent damages.

As an example, you may be driving on a highway when a person using a cell phone cuts you off. You slam on the brakes, a car rear-ends you, and a pileup ensues. Who is responsible – you, the driver who hit you, or the person who cut you off? Obviously, things can get complicated in such incidents. Working with a qualified legal team to uncover any negligence that may have caused the collision is the first step in protecting your rights against this type of accident.

Proving Negligence in Texas

Negligence can affect any personal injury in Texas, not only those on our freeways. For instance, if you meet with a legal team to discuss a slip and fall, they will pore over any details you provide. Were the grounds well maintained? Was the business you were visiting open and well staffed? Were there any spills, and did the manager take a reasonable degree of action to fix the problem? Proving these details, potentially before a jury, takes countless hours of hard work and dedication. If you’re injured, do your best to keep track of the following details. This will help you prove neglect in Texas:

  • A detailed, consistent account of the accident. Documentation is critically important, but so is consistency. As soon as you get the chance, write down what happened so you can remember it in the future. Inconsistency may affect your credibility, especially if the defendant has his or her own evidence.
  • Pictures of the scene. Photographs will absolutely help your case. In the case of a slip and fall, a spill or crack in the sidewalk can be incriminating. This can streamline the entire process, so if you’re able, take pictures of the scene or have someone do it for you.
  • Witness information. Eyewitness accounts are also critical. As your attorney and insurance company (as well as the defendant’s) work to understand what happened, external perspectives may prove invaluable.
  • The physician’s diagnosis. Whether or not you’re injured, consider checking in with a doctor if you suspect neglect. This is even more important if you have any kind of pain or discomfort. These issues may develop over time, and you might need to rely on a professional’s diagnosis to link your pain and suffering to the incident.
  • All related expenses and damages. Keep your receipts, all medical bills, and any other documents (e.g., bank statements) connecting costs to the accident.

Don’t Overlook the Importance of Working with an Experienced Dallas Attorney

Your Texas attorney will explore the defendant’s legal obligations to provide a safe environment for the plaintiff, whether that duty was breached or not, and what caused the incident – which can be a direct or indirect action or no action at all. Finally, he or she will assess the damage, accounting for all long-term issues that may play into your settlement. This could include physical therapy costs, job rehabilitation programs, loss of consortium, and more.

There are hundreds of details that can be the difference between a fair amount that pays for all damages over the course of your life and an insulting settlement lets the responsible party off the hook. Don’t fall for the latter. Speak with an attorney at Aaron Herbert for more information, and trust your claim to us. We’ll explore every possible factor that may have contributed to your injury, and we won’t rest until a fair settlement is awarded.

Posted by admin at 10:55 pm

Does a “Swim at Your Own Risk” Sign Actually Do Anything?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

When it’s summertime in Texas, we tend to gravitate toward pools. On particularly hot days, kids swarm to public options, and they may even be tempted to swim in the neighbors’ pools – whether or not they’re at home. If a child is injured in a public or private pool, you may be wondering about potential liability or legal actions that you may take against the city or owner.

Responsibility & LIability

Before you get that far, you may be wondering: Is a “Swim at Your Own Risk” sign enough to eliminate all responsibility for accidents that occur on the property? The answer is no. Texas laws in this area are multifaceted, and there is plenty to consider before taking your case to an attorney. Here are a few factors that may affect your claim:

  • Our premises liability laws. In general, a public pool or one owned by a hotel or similar business (e.g., a gym) can be held accountable for any injuries that occur; a posted warning sign may not matter. There are, of course, some exceptions. For example, the injured party can’t be a trespasser, and he or she must have used the pool as intended – for example, drinking and swimming after hours will likely result in partial blame being placed on the injured party. Regardless, the owner must make conditions as safe as possible and reasonably enforce any rules posted for the pool.
  • Assumed risk. A qualified Texas attorney will thoroughly explain this factor to you before agreeing to take your case. The presence of a “Swim at Your Own Risk” sign does amplify this issue, as does the presence of a lifeguard. For instance, when a pool is clearly marked as “No Lifeguard on Duty,” swimmers assume a certain degree of risk when they jump into the pool. Though “Swim at Your Own Risk” is less specific, the same principle applies.
    However, the age and cognitive abilities of the injured party may affect this. For example, a child with a mental disability wouldn’t be expected to understand the risk these signs indicate. When this is the case, the claim will likely be settled by continuing to examine factors that may have contributed to the accident – such as neglect.
  • Negligence. This is another element that will likely affect the outcome of your claim. The pool’s owner is expected to keep the area safe and well maintained. This includes keeping all equipment in working order and ensuring the area is reasonably clear of obstacles. If a faulty or uncovered drain contributes to an accident, for example, it isn’t a known risk that the plaintiff assumed, regardless of any signage.
    The workers employed at the pool may also fall under scrutiny; if a lifeguard is on duty and he or she causes or fails to prevent damages, the enterprise may be liable for subsequent expenses. These individuals are to be fully licensed and qualified and it’s an area your attorney should explore.

Work Out the Specifics of Your Case with an Experienced Texas Attorney

Even though we’ve outlined some details here, real-life cases are far more nuanced and can only be explained through a consultation with an attorney. Product liability may be involved, which opens the claim up to an entirely new area of legal practice. You also need a lawyer committed to uncovering the minutiae of your case – from whether warning signs were posted clearly to confirming the owner’s security measures and demonstrating his or her ability to keep the pool safe.

Contact

For a personal, devoted look at your claim, get in touch with the Texas specialists at the Law Firm of Aaron Herbert.

Posted by admin at 9:56 pm