This is the second post in our series on the process of establishing the liability of a bar, restaurant, or other establishment after one was injured in a Fort Worth DUI accident. Our last post provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing and it stressed the need to retain a personal injury lawyer with the resources necessary to handle such a case. By retaining an attorney with such resources, you help to ensure that necessary evidence is preserved. This, in turn, will help you recover any damages to which you are entitled. In this article we will discuss another important topic – the use of discovery to establish the fault of the entity which served alcohol to a drunk driver.
We previously discussed the use of discovery in accident cases involving distracted driving. The tools we discussed in that article are available to counsel in cases involving a DUI accident. Interrogatories may be used to require an establishment to answer written questions. Requests for Production are a tool which allow your attorney to obtain records, documents, and other physical items. Finally a deposition may be used to take the testimony of parties and witnesses while a subpoena may be used to require third-parties to provide documentation, records, or other items. Discovery may only be conducted within a certain window of time. If a party does not make the appropriate requests, in a timely manner, then they may lose their right to collect such information.
Discovery can be used to obtain proof that a bartender, waitress, or other employee knowingly served alcohol to a potential driver who was visibly drunk. Interrogatories may be used to identify the names of the employees on duty and to gain a description of what steps are taken to prevent people from being served after they are already intoxicated. Requests for production may be used to gain surveillance footage, cash register receipts, and other written records which will show how much alcohol the individual was served and the times at which purchases were made. Subpoenas can also be used to gain information from other establishments if it is shown that a drunk driver frequented multiple bars or restaurants in the course of a night. These are just a few examples of how a Fort Worth DUI accident victim can gather proof of an establishment’s negligence.
It is not uncommon for defendants to attempt to avoid discovery requests through objections or by outright ignoring them. Fortunately, the rules of civil procedure provide remedies to such efforts. If the other side does not provide timely and adequate responses then your lawyer may file a Motion to Compel. The Court may then order that adequate responses be provided and, depending on the circumstances, the Judge may sanction the offending party. Given the need of adequate responses to prove liability, a Fort Worth DUI victim should retain a personal injury attorney who will follow through with this process.
When selecting a lawyer we suggest that you retain a firm with significant financial resources and which also employs an on-staff investigator.