It goes without saying that our firm's main priority is holding those who harmed our clients through their negligence accountable. But given the many ramifications of the general public's lack of legal knowledge, we also consider it an important part of our mission to inform the public about how the law actually works. Talking about some of the cases we've recently taken, and the issues they raise is one way of advancing that goal.
The case discussed in this post involved a drunk driver who consumed alcohol at a Wing Stop before striking and badly injuring our client, a motorcyclist. Based on posts by witnesses, it appears likely that the establishment sold him alcohol while he was already intoxicated. If further investigation supports this suspicion, we expect that our attorneys will be able to hold them accountable for their contribution to this devastation.
One Night Changes A Young Father's Life Forever
The events of this case occurred in May of 2019 in Odessa, TX. According to the police report, a 34-year old man was driving west in a stolen BMW 325i sedan when he failed to yield the right of way to a motorcycle while attempting a left turn. This led the BMW to strike the motorcycle, ejecting our client.
Media reports indicate the BMW driver was highly intoxicated, slurring his words and identifying himself by an assumed name. Authorities arrested him on multiple charges, including Intoxication Assault. Media reports also indicate that this is the fourth time authorities have charged the driver with a DWI-related offense.
As a result of the collision, our client suffered severe and life-changing injuries, including two broken arms, a broken pelvis, paralysis of one leg, and loss of most of the vision in his left eye. His costs for ongoing home care and rehabilitation are likely to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And in a final, bitter twist, because he was unable to leave the hospital, he also missed the birth of his youngest daughter 11 days after the wreck.
How Wingstop's Negligence Contributed to This Tragedy
Obviously, the drunk driver who stole his friend's car, drove it while intoxicated, and carelessly hit a motorcyclist is the furthest thing from a model citizen. It's certainly our hope that the criminal justice system metes out appropriate punishment to him that finally encourages him to change his ways.
Given the massively irresponsible decisions of the drunk driver who caused this crash (and his history of similar behavior) it might seem ethically questionable to attempt to force responsibility onto the alcohol provider. But based on the statements of people who witnessed his visit, it looks like Wing Stop made a significant contribution to this incident.
According to social media posts from other customers who saw him, the driver was visibly drunk as he made his order and wore a bright orange wristband, possibly from a bar. Despite his condition, they indicate that staff served him at least one bottle of beer, and he was angrily demanding a second, when they cut him off. While they may try to cite this refusal in their defense, any service of alcohol to someone who's already intoxicated is too much as far as Texas' liquor liability statutes are concerned.
To be sure, none of this should suggest that the drunk driver doesn't bear a significant share of the responsibility for this crash. But it would be grossly unjust, both to our client and to society at large, if Wingstop, and any other businesses that may have over-served the man that night, never suffered any consequences. While it's unfortunate that it's necessary, it appears that paying the costs of a dram shop judgment is the only effective way to get many businesses to ensure their service of alcohol is safe and legal.
Based on what we've already established, there appears to be plenty of evidence that Wingstop should bear substantial responsibility for this terrible crash. We have every reason to expect that our attorneys will be able to reach a successful outcome in the case that helps our client's family remain financially solvent as he continues on his long road to recovery.