Losing a child is always difficult, but it’s even more difficult when that life is snatched away by a drunk driver who was served alcohol in a bar despite being intoxicated. In the case of our clients, their beloved son was killed when the driver of the car he was in lost control and crashed. The driver’s blood alcohol content was found to be over twice the legal limit. The death of our clients’ son was not just tragic and senseless—it was wrongful. Our clients deserved to be compensated for their suffering by the responsible parties, and we made sure they were.
Parker Law Determines Responsibility for Dram Shop Tragedy
The driver who got behind the wheel after consuming large quantities of alcohol is primarily to blame for the accident, but under Texas dram shop laws, the bar or restaurant who served him the alcohol could also be held accountable. Dram shop claims are difficult to prove, but our team put all our efforts into holding the bar liable for knowingly serving a drunk customer. We were able to present the following key pieces of evidence in our settlement demand:
- Interviews with the server and manager of the last bar the driver visited. We were able to establish that the server had the required Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) certification and knew or should have known that the four drinks she served to the customer in a one-hour period would render him legally intoxicated. We also established that the manager on duty at the time had no training in limiting the service of alcohol to drunk patrons.
- Expert witness testimony. Our witness, a former employee of the TABC, was able to prove that the bar in question did violate TABC laws on the night of the crash.
- Scientific research on intoxication. We submitted into evidence the results of a study proving that very drunk people do not always appear to be intoxicated and, therefore, the bar should have had a drink-tracking system in place to prevent such tragedies.
- Recipes for the mixed drinks that were consumed. These documents illustrated the high amount of alcohol contained in the drinks the driver had in the hour he was at the bar.
In dram shop cases, it is not enough to simply produce a credit card receipt from a bar. We knew we had to provide overwhelming evidence that the bar acted irresponsibility, and we did just that.
Wrongful Death Damages We Demanded
Our clients were devastated by the loss of their son. A bright and ambitious architecture student at Texas Tech, he brought joy to his parents and siblings and had planned to go into business with his brother when he graduated. The close-knit family was torn apart by his senseless death. While a wrongful death lawsuit cannot lessen their pain, it does make the people responsible for the death pay for their actions. In our suit, we demanded and won the following damages:
- Physical pain and mental anguish. Our client’s son suffered terribly in the moments before his death. We presented the results of his autopsy to demonstrate that the injuries he sustained caused him great pain before ultimately killing him.
- Loss of society and companionship. We presented photographs and stories that illustrated how important their son was to our clients and how they deserved to be compensated for their tragic loss.
Because of the strength of the evidence we gathered, we may have been able to secure a higher award by taking this case to court, but our priority was to settle the matter quickly to provide closure to our clients. We issued a deadline to the lawyers representing the bar, and they quickly agreed to settle the claim for the maximum value of their insurance policies.
There Are No Winners in a Wrongful Death Claim
Nothing will bring back our clients’ precious son, but we are happy that we helped bring our clients some peace of mind and closure. We don’t think of these cases as “wins,” but we are proud to be able to do something positive under such tragic circumstances.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident with a negligent driver, call our Bedford, Texas wrongful death attorneys for a free wrongful death consultation. We will listen to your story and let you know if we think we can help.