The Many Losses of A Dram Shop Claim
Drunk driving victims need to know their rights. In the shock of getting injured or losing a loved one to a drunk driver, many victims feel intense fear, anger, depression, and loss. There can seem like a million things you will need to start juggling, and thinking about hiring a lawyer could well be low on the list.
For someone injured in a drunk driving crash, these could include physical therapy, medical bills, coordinating trips to the doctor with trying to do your job, and dealing with the aches and pains that, but for the drunk driver's negligence, you would not be experiencing now. Sometimes, victims are so badly hurt that they are unable to return to work. The stress of the accident is compounded by the mounting bills that you now have to find other sources of money to pay. Further, in our more than 25 years of practice in drunk driving accident cases, we know how demoralizing being out of work can feel for victims.
When a loved one is lost, the equation vastly changes. Funeral expenses are just the beginning. You now must deal with the consequences of their not being able to earn income and provide emotional support. Victims with these terrible losses are facing an uncertain, frightening future, which is why it's so important that they obtain qualified legal help to ensure they obtain fair compensation from the bar that over-served the drunk driver. In this article, we explain how to determine the value of a dram shop case.
Questions answered on this page:
- What happens after you prove a driver and/or bar was at fault in a drunk driving case?
- What types of compensation, or damages, can I get for a drunk driving claim?
- Why you should I contact an attorney for my case?
The most important initial task for your dram shop attorney is proving other parties are liable for your loss. This is not as simple as it might seem. Simply having a police report that says you were not at fault and that the other driver exhibited the signs of intoxication is not the end of the matter.
As the plaintiff in a case at law, you have the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the other party is responsible, or, in layman's terms, that they were more likely responsible than not for your losses. This requires showing that the driver was negligent, meaning that he or she did not perform their duty of care by drinking to the point where they became a danger on the roads and then getting behind the wheel in spite of this. Accomplishing this task will require gathering all available evidence and having the legal know how to have it admitted in court so that it can help prove your case, as well as the ability to counter the defenses that the driver's attorneys will surely make.
Once you have proved that the other driver was negligent, you must now be able to show that the defendant's actions were the proximate cause of your losses. It is unfair to the defendant, no matter how drunk he was, to require him to pay for preexisting conditions. Drunk drivers' insurance companies' lawyers know this well. They will attack your medical and even your psychological history to reduce their exposure to damages. Many of our clients over the years have had preexisting medical conditions. This added layer of complexity did not stop us from recovering all the compensation they were owed. But it is important to know that an experienced drunk driving attorney is required to prevent the defendant from escaping liability, even if they seem to be clearly at fault for the crash.
Types of Compensation
Generally speaking, once you have established negligence and proximate cause to your injuries, you have two types of damages, or compensation, that an injured person can try to recover in court:
- Compensatory: These damages are for your loss of income, out of pocket expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of intangible benefits such as loss of enjoyment of life. Although assessing exact dollar amounts is complicated, the general idea is to make you whole for your losses. If, say, a jury determines that you lost out on $4,500 on income due to your injuries, that is the dollar amount assigned to that particular loss.
- Punitive: When a defendant has engaged in extremely egregious behavior, sometimes additional compensation is available. Courts allow these damages, not so much to make victims whole, but to punish the wrongdoer and make an example of him or her in order to deter future parties from that behavior. These damages, it should be remembered, are rare and difficult to obtain. To learn more about punitive damages in Texas dram shop cases, click here.
Evidence For Your Dram Shop Case
Simply being victimized, sadly, is not enough to prove your losses. You need a skilled drunk driving attorney who knows the Texas rules of evidence backwards and forwards. You need a lawyer with significant experience in front of juries. And of course, you need a lawyer with access to, and the resources for, the expert testimony that could well be required to prove your case. In the past, we have retained and utilized the following experts to secure all the compensation our clients deserve:
- Forensic examiners
- Accident data specialists
- Toxicology experts
- Financial experts
An inexperienced attorney may not know the requirements of introducing and effectively employing expert testimony. To convince a jury that the damages you are alleging are grounded in objective reality, you will need people testifying on your behalf who are trained in these complicated fields. Juries are made up of everyday people who cannot understand the intricacies of, say, extrapolating out decades of what your lost loved one would have made in his or her career given their education, experience, and earning potential without help.
Grossman Law Offices can help with your case.
The drunk driving victim advocates at Grossman Law Offices in Dallas, TX have the extensive capabilities you need to prove your case. And you can rest assured that our 25 years of experience and knowledge of the law will enable you to get the most compensation possible for your claim. Feel free to call us at (855) 326-0000, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, to get answers for your concerns.
Related Articles for Further Reading:
- How Does Liquor Liability Insurance Work?
- What Should I Expect if My Liquor Liability Lawsuit Goes to Trial?
- How Can Expert Witness Testimony Help my Case?