This is the next post in a series of articles discussing issues that commonly arise in Fort Worth, Texas DRAM shop, or liquor liability, cases. Our previous post discussed pre-trial motions and their role in DRAM cases. The Court’s decisions on motions made before the trial begins can have a significant impact on the trajectory of a case. A law firm with litigation experience will understand when such matters should be brought to the Court, or opposed, and the potential importance of the outcomes for their client. In this article, we will discuss how damages are calculated in the aftermath of a catastrophic injury in the context of a DRAM shop case. If you or a loved one has been injured, we recommend contacting an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
Earlier in this series, we explained that bars, restaurants, taverns, and similar establishments may be liable for injuries caused by their drunk patrons if the establishment knowingly overserved them. The most common scenario for liquor liability cases are DUI accidents. For instance, if a bartender continues serving drinks to an obviously intoxicated customer who then proceeds to cause a serious car accident, the victim may recover damages from the driver and the bar. The jury will assign a percentage of responsibility to the driver and the DRAM shop establishment and damages will be proportionately split between the two. Damages may include direct expenses, such as past and future lost wages, medical expenses, or funeral expenses. Victims may also be entitled to recover damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, or loss of companionship. In extreme cases, where the plaintiff can prove that the establishment was grossly negligent in overserving its patron, it may be possible to collect punitive, or exemplary, damages.
Depending upon the nature of the injuries and the details of the accident, it can be difficult to quantify a victim’s damages. This is particularly true in serious injury cases, such as those resulting from DUI accidents. Given the potential severity of injuries and complex factors in these types of matters, expert witnesses play an important role in calculating damages. For instance, if a woman was paralyzed in a crash caused by a drunk driver, it may take months or years for physicians to have enough information to estimate the future costs of medical care. If she is prevented from working for the rest of her life in her current career field, vocational experts and economists may be required to determine future lost wages. If she is seeking punitive damages, various experts in restaurant and bar safety may help prove that the establishment was grossly negligent. An experienced personal injury law firm will have the resources and personnel to conduct a full investigation and retain and consult with all necessary experts to help victims receive the compensation to which they are entitled.
When a tragic accident occurs due to the negligence of others, victims should quickly consult an experienced personal injury law firm to understand their options. We suggest that you look for a firm with multiple lawyers on staff who are Board Certified in Personal Injury Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, with an investigator on-site, and with adequate financial resources. These traits should be sought regardless of whether you were injured in the areas of Fort Worth, Dallas, or elsewhere.