This is the next post in our series on establishing liability against a restaurant, bar, or other business in a Dram shop case. Our last article discussed the importance of discovery in Fort Worth DUI accident cases. Discovery allows a victim to obtain the records and evidence they need to prove their case. Without such evidence it can be difficult to recover damages. In this article we will discuss how company policies and employee training can show whether an establishment was taking adequate steps in its efforts to avoid drunk drivers from causing harm. If you or a loved one have been in a wreck then it is crucial that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
We previously discussed how Texas’ Dram shop laws hold an establishment responsible for serving intoxicated people who intend to drive. There can be several aspects to showing that an establishment failed to live up to its responsibilities. One of these aspects can be whether or not the business had policies in place, and training programs for their employees, which were meant to prevent such incidents from occurring. If a company lacked such policies or training procedures then there is an increased chance that the jury will hold the establishment responsible for the accident. There is also an increased chance that the jury would levy a punitive damages award against the establishment.
Company policies and training procedures can take several forms. An establishment may have a rule that a patron is to be explicitly asked whether they intend to drive if it appears they are intoxicated. An establishment may also have a rule stating that bartenders or servers are to offer to call a taxi cab on behalf of anyone who has had a certain number of drinks. There may be other policies which are less obvious, such as requirements that a bartender is to keep track of how many drinks an individual has had. Such policies may be memorialized in memos, corporate manuals, or in other places. Such materials can be used as evidence that company policies were not followed.
If a company lacks any written policies, and does not take steps to adequately train its employees, then the jury may be inclined to award punitive damages to a Plaintiff. Such damages are meant to punish a defendant who acts with reckless or wanton disregard for the public safety. It goes without saying that if one has been entrusted to serve alcohol, then they have a responsibility to do so in a way which does not unreasonably endanger others. Obtaining punitive damages in a case requires a strong showing of proof. It is, therefore, important that you retain an experienced injury attorney.
If you were hit by a drunk driver in Fort Worth, Dallas, or elsewhere in Texas then we suggest you contact a firm which employs multiple lawyers, which has an on-staff investigator, and which has the resources necessary to deal with large corporate defendants.