If you or a loved one was hit by a drunk driver, your entire life could be changed. Victims of DWI-related accidents often die or suffer serious injuries. People who drive while intoxicated should be held responsible for the harm they cause, and Texas law often allows victims and their families to take these drivers to court to seek compensation for their injuries.
For help with your potential case, call The Queenan Law Firm’s Arlington, TX DWI car accident victim injury lawyer. Our attorneys help victims of driving while intoxicated (DWI) accidents in claims for compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. For your free case consultation, call us today at (817) 476-1797.
How to Prove Driver Fault in a Drunk Driving Accident in Arlington, Texas
Drivers and passengers who are injured in a drunk driving accident have the burden of proving their case to get damages for injuries. In many cases, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the injured driver, but it is still important to know what evidence to collect and what arguments your lawyer will make to prove fault.
Burden of Proof
When you sue a driver for injuries in a car crash in Arlington, you must prove that they did something wrong. Evidence that the driver was under the influence of alcohol when the crash occurred is often sufficient evidence of negligence since driving while intoxicated is a crime. In civil lawsuits, the violation of any legal duty can often help prove negligence, especially when the legal duty comes from a law that is intended to keep other people safe by preventing dangerous conduct.
To prove your case in a civil lawsuit, you have to prove that it is more likely than not that the other driver was indeed intoxicated and caused the crash because of their negligence and intoxication. This burden of proof is much lower than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal cases, and many civil cases can succeed where criminal charges might fail.
Proof of the other driver’s intoxication can come from various sources of evidence. You should always call the police to report a car accident, and police responding to a drunk driving accident will often arrest the drunk driver and process them for DWI charges. This usually means performing a blood or breath test that will determine how much alcohol the driver had in their system. If you can get a copy of the results of that test, that often supplies excellent evidence of the other driver’s intoxication to help prove your case.
Alternatively, you can prove the other driver was drunk based on things you observed at the scene of the crash. For instance, if you saw the other driver actively drinking during or after the crash or they admitted to you that they were drunk, that can work as evidence of their intoxication. Even people who are not trained to identify drunk drivers can often supply evidence that someone is drunk, such as any of the following observations:
- Slurred speech
- Slow movements
- Odor of alcohol on the breath
- Glassy or bloodshot eyes
- Trouble retrieving license or insurance papers
- Unruly or inappropriate behavior
- Disheveled appearance
These and many other details are the kinds of things you can testify to in court to help prove to the jury that the other driver was drunk or unfit to drive.
Proving Who Was Driving
The other thing you must prove in your DWI case is that the other driver was actually the one driving the car. If you saw the drunk driver behind the wheel, they got out of the driver’s seat, or they admitted they were driving, that is usually sufficient evidence that they were responsible for the crash. If the driver tried to switch places with a passenger, it might be more difficult to prove which person was actually driving when the crash occurred.
In any case, it is important to collect the driver’s name and contact info after the crash so that you know whom to sue is court. Proving who was driving the car can be very difficult in hit-and-run DWI accidents, and you should always talk to the police and an Arlington DWI car accident victim attorney for help finding the responsible parties.
Suing Bars and Restaurants After DWI Accidents in Arlington
In most drunk driving car accident lawsuits in Arlington, Texas, you will directly sue the driver who hit you. However, you might also be able to sue the bar or restaurant where they were drinking before the crash. Under Texas’ “dram shop” act, it is illegal for bars and restaurants to overserve patrons or to serve patrons that they believe to be too intoxicated.
Under Texas Beverage Code § 2.02, bars and other providers of alcoholic beverages can be held responsible for drunk driving accidents if the person they served “was obviously intoxicated” up to a level where they “presented a clear danger.” To win a case involving the bar or restaurant, you must show the alcohol was a cause of the injuries, which is generally true of DWI accidents.
When you sue under the dram shop act, the court will weigh the fault among the bar and the driver, splitting the blame based on how much fault each party shared. For instance, the driver might share more responsibility if they were texting, lighting a cigarette, and driving under the influence when the crash occurred, but a bar could share more blame if they kept pushing drinks on a drunk patron and knew they were driving home after leaving. The facts of each case will determine how fault and monetary damages are divided.
Call Our Arlington DWI Attorney for Car Accident Victims
If you or a loved one was hit by a drunk driver, you could be facing expensive medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, vehicle damage, and other damages that could be impossible to cover on your own. Drunk drivers can be held liable along with bars and restaurants that serve drunk drivers, potentially getting victims compensation for their damages. For help filing a lawsuit, call The Queenan Law Firm’s Arlington, TX DWI car accident victim injury lawyer and Arlington, TX personal injury lawyers today to set up a free consultation on your case. Our phone number is (817) 476-1797.