Police believe that a motorist was intoxicated when he traveled the wrong way on I-30 and collided with two other vehicles.
Authorities state that the suspected drunk driver was westbound on the eastbound side of Interstate 30 near Ridgmar Mall. The driver hit a van carrying three people head-on, and then hit a large truck head-on as well. Five people were transported to area trauma centers.
None of the names were released.
First Party Liability in Alcohol-Related Crashes
Since alcohol impairs motor skills and clouds judgment ability, it is not surprising that alcohol causes over a fourth of the fatal collisions in Tarrant County. Certain other substances, such as prescription painkillers, have roughly the same effect. However, it is a bit harder for a Fort Worth personal injury attorney to establish liability for damages in these situations.
If the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) BAC level was above .08, the tortfeasor may be responsible for damages as a matter of law, thanks to the negligence per se doctrine. This rule applies if the tortfeasor:
Violated a safety law, and
That violation substantially caused injury.
In some cases, such as speeding, negligence per se may only be a presumption of negligence and not absolute proof of liability.
The aforementioned impairing effects begin at the first drink. But most drivers are not legally intoxicated until they consume several drinks. Moreover, if the tortfeasor was killed, police often do not bother pressing criminal charges. So, victims in these crashes must use circumstantial evidence to establish impairment. This evidence includes:
Odor of alcohol,
Bloodshot eyes, and
Victim/plaintiffs may also use circumstantial evidence to establish liability in drug impairment cases. In addition to physical evidence, like bloodshot eyes, other evidence includes current prescriptions, open pill bottles, and the tortfeasor’s statements about drug use.
Third Party Liability
Texas has a very broad dram shop law. Chapter Two of the Alcoholic Beverage Code holds bars, clubs, grocery stores, and other commercial alcohol providers liable for car crash damages if they sell alcohol to people who are intoxicated to the extent that they present a danger to themselves or others.
The aforementioned circumstantial evidence, such as bloodshot eyes, is admissible to establish intoxication at the time of sale.
It may also be possible to hold doctors or pharmacists liable for injuries caused by prescription drug crashes. However, it is difficult to establish foreseeability in these claims.
Alcohol-fueled crashes often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Fort Worth, contact Herreth Law. We routinely handle matters in Tarrant County and nearby jurisdictions.