Can a Bar/Nightclub Be Responsible for Alcohol Poisoning?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Alcohol poisoning is a serious and potentially fatal condition in which too much alcohol replaces the oxygen in the blood. It can occur from drinking too much alcohol too quickly. Alcohol poisoning can affect your body temperature, heart rate and breathing. In severe cases, alcohol poisoning can cause coma and death. In Texas, if a bartender or alcohol vendor overserves an obviously intoxicated person too much alcohol, the state’s dram shop law could hold the business responsible for related incidents and injuries, including alcohol poisoning. To learn more, get help from a Dallas dram shop liability attorney.

Is Dram Shop Only Related to Car Accidents?

Texas’ dram shop law, Alcohol Beverage Code Chapter 2, states that an alcohol provider could be liable for damages if it was apparent at the time of providing the alcoholic beverage that the recipient was obviously intoxicated to the point of posing a risk to him/herself or others, and if the intoxication of the recipient was the proximate cause of damages suffered. Although the most common use of the dram shop law is to prove alcohol vendor liability for a drunk driving accident, the statute can apply to many other alcohol-related accidents as well. The law does not specifically name auto accidents as the only incident with recovery available. It simply states that the vendor could be liable for damages suffered.

Does Dram Shop Cover Alcohol Poisoning, Slip and Fall or Wrongful Death?

Dram shop laws exist because those in positions to serve alcohol could effectively prevent drunk driving accidents, assaults and other alcohol-related incidents by cutting off the recipient. Holding alcohol vendors responsible for how much they serve could potentially help prevent overserving patrons, as well as the accidents they cause. The dram shop law in Texas can apply to any damages an intoxicated person causes, including assaulting someone else or causing a drunk driving accident. The intoxicated person, however, cannot use the dram shop law to hold the alcohol vendor liable for his or her own damages.
Although the dram shop law may not apply, a drunken individual could have a case based on negligence against the bar, restaurant or nightclub guilty of overserving him or her. Every establishment has a duty of care, or legal obligation, to reasonably look out for the safety of its patrons. This obligation can come with many specific duties, including a duty not to overserve obviously intoxicated patrons. If an employee of the establishment negligently overserves a person, and that person suffers injuries such as alcohol poisoning, a slip and fall accident or wrongful death, the victim or his or her family may have grounds for a negligence claim.

A negligence claim against a bar or nightclub for overserving must prove through a preponderance of evidence that the establishment owed the victim a duty of care, breached this duty by overserving the victim, and that this breach is what caused the victim’s damages. The victim may also have a claim based on premises liability if a dangerous property element caused the accident, such as beer-soaked floors or inadequate security. A claim can demand compensation for damages such as physical injuries, medical bills, property damage, emotional distress, lost wages and legal fees.

Can I File a Dram Shop Claim if Alcohol Was Served to a Minor?

Texas’ dram shop law also applies to the serving of alcohol to a minor (someone under the age of 18) in some situations. If the alcohol vendor was an adult 21 years of age or older and was not the intoxicated individual’s parent, guardian, spouse or someone keeping custody of the minor, the adult could be liable for the minor’s intoxication. The adult must have knowingly furnished the minor with alcohol or allowed someone else to serve the minor alcohol on a premises the adult owned. If someone served your underage child alcohol and he or she suffered alcohol poisoning, you may have a case against the bartender, establishment, individual or social host. Speak to an injury attorney about a potential lawsuit right away.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:57 pm

2 Safest Ways to Travel for the Holidays

Monday, November 25, 2019

Thousands of people travel for the holidays by air, car, bus, boat and train. Sadly, not all these travelers will make it to their holiday destinations alive. The holidays are some of the most common days for fatal accidents. Drunk drivers, heavy traffic, bad weather and human errors are a few of the reasons holiday-related travel accidents occur. Before the holidays arrive this year, learn a few key tips for safer trips.

Safe Driving

You can improve your safety on the road if you pay attention to the driving task, obey traffic laws and follow speed limits. Drive defensively to help protect yourself from other drivers. Assume other drivers will break the rules and put your life at risk. Always keep your eyes on the road and watch what drivers around you are doing. Prepare to stop at a moment’s notice. Put your phone away while driving to your holiday destinations to help prevent distracted driving accidents. Speak to a Dallas distracted driving lawyer if you were involved in an accident.
Drunk driving is a significant source of catastrophic and fatal auto accidents throughout the U.S. The rate of drunk driving spikes around the holidays. In 2016, 781 people died in drunk driving accidents in December alone. Reduce the number of drunk drivers on the roads this holiday season by finding a sober way home if you plan on drinking alcohol. Even if you have just one drink, it could impair you enough to affect your driving. Keep an eye out for erratic and potentially intoxicated drivers while you drive. If you think you see a drunk driver, stay a safe distance away and call 911.
As someone traveling to a new place for the holidays, research your destination and route ahead of time to better prepare for the drive. Check the weather and try to avoid driving if the forecast calls for rain, fog, sleet or snow. Leave early in the morning or late at night to avoid the bulk of holiday traffic. Only drive after a full night’s rest. If you are not used to driving overnight or long distances, do not do so. Take plenty of breaks and drive with a friend to help keep you awake. Bring your vehicle to a mechanic for professional maintenance before you embark.

Safe Flying

Statistically, you are less likely to be in a plane crash than an auto accident. If you know you will be traveling out of town for the holidays ahead of time, consider booking a flight instead of driving. You can skip traffic, get to your destination faster and reduce your risk of serious injuries. It is still important, however, to abide by certain safety tips while flying for the most positive experience.
• Pack smart. Obey the Transportation Security Administration’s rules for what to bring on your flight. Do not bring any liquids over three ounces in volume or portable chargers with lithium-ion batteries. Do not bring any weapons, gels or aerosols.
• Avoid the busiest travel days. Flying on a day that is not as busy for air travel can mean lighter traffic on the way to the airport and shorter security lines. The greatest rush around Thanksgiving is the Wednesday before the holiday and the Sunday after.
• Stay sanitary. Planes can be dirty places due to the high volume of travelers. Bring hand sanitizer with you and apply it regularly to avoid germs and illnesses while flying for the holidays.
Leave early to get to the airport to give yourself plenty of time to go through security and get to your terminal. Leaving early can allow you to take your time while driving to the airport and walking through the airport. This could help you avoid car crashes as well as slip and fall accidents. It can also help you avoid missing your flight. No matter how you travel this holiday season, plan ahead and put your safety first. Stay calm and in control and you can tackle any travel challenge this holiday season. If the worst does happen, contact a personal injury attorney for assistance.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 4:08 pm

Can a Bar Be Responsible for a DUI Accident?

Monday, November 25, 2019

Drunk driving is a rampant problem in Texas and throughout the U.S. In 2018, driving under the influence (DUI) in Texas caused fatal accidents that killed 940 people. Drunk driving accounted for 26% of the total number of motor vehicle crash deaths in Texas in 2018. Most people know they can hold the drunk driver responsible for a drunk driving accident, but may not know the bar or establishment that furnished the DUI driver with alcohol could also share liability depending on the situation. If you were injured by an intoxicated individual get help from a Dallas dram shop liability attorney.

Dram Shop Liability Laws

Like most states, Texas has a dram shop law in place that holds alcohol providers, such as bars and restaurants, responsible for drunk driving accidents in certain situations. The law states that selling, serving or providing alcoholic beverages could be grounds for a cause of action after an accident if certain circumstances exist. First, it must have been clear at the time of the dram shop offering the alcohol that the person was obviously intoxicated to an extent that he or she posed a danger to him/herself or others. Second, the person’s intoxication from the alcohol furnished must have been the proximate cause of the accident in question.
An adult 21 or older could also be liable for the actions of an intoxicated person if the drunk person was a minor under the age of 18, and if the furnishing adult was not the minor’s spouse, parent or guardian. The adult must have knowingly served, or allowed someone else to serve, the underage individual alcohol that contributed to the individual’s intoxication. Texas’ dram shop law can apply to any provider that served an obviously intoxicated person alcohol before he or she drove a vehicle and got into a DUI accident.

Can a Distributor of Alcohol Be Accountable for Accidents Involving Intoxication?

Yes, a distributor of alcohol can be legally accountable for car accidents and other incidents involving someone’s intoxication. A Dallas DUI accident could come down to the shared liability of both the drunk driver and the dram shop that provided the driver with alcohol if the shop knew or reasonably should have known the individual was already intoxicated, yet served the person alcohol anyway, and if this was the proximate cause of the drunk driving accident. If another bar or restaurant would not have served the person alcohol in the same circumstances, the dram shop could be liable for a resultant drunk driving accident.
Under Texas’ dram shop laws, DUI accidents are not the only incidents for which an alcohol provider may be liable if it sells alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person. The bar or distributor could also be liable for alcohol-related incidents such as brawls, assaults, violence and fall accidents. For example, if a distributor gives alcohol to Person A despite Person A’s obvious drunkenness, and Person A starts a fight with Person B, the bar could be liable for Person B’s injuries and hospital bills.
Obvious intoxication refers to a level of drunkenness that a prudent and reasonable alcohol furnisher would notice. This could include common signs of intoxication such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, stumbling while walking or smelling of alcohol. If an individual did not exhibit signs of intoxication or had an unusually low tolerance, however, the bar or restaurant may not be liable for furnishing the individual with more alcohol, even if that person went on to cause a drunk driving accident.

What Other Establishments Can Be Held Responsible?

Any establishment that furnishes alcohol to an intoxicated person who causes a drunk driving accident could be legally responsible for damages. This can include a bar, restaurant, gas station, grocery store, social host or individual. Any provider that sells or serves alcoholic beverages using an alcohol license or permit could be responsible if the intoxicated person drives and causes a car accident. An establishment can be vicariously responsible for the actions of its employees, as well, including bartenders and waiters. Find out if you have a case against a dram shop in Texas by talking to an attorney.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:53 pm

10 Most Common Burn Injuries at Home

Monday, November 25, 2019

Many people think their homes are places where serious and fatal burn injuries cannot occur. Most homeowners are familiar with their cooking equipment, furnaces, space heaters and other appliances. You might underestimate the dangers of cooking, decorating, purchasing new appliances or engaging in other regular activities at your home. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), however, 73% of structure fires in 2018 were home fires. Home fires and burn injuries are more common than you think. Practice a few general safety tips to avoid suffering a serious burn at home.

Who Is Held Liable?

If you suffer a bad burn injury at home, someone else may owe you compensation for your related medical bills, property damages, lost wages and other losses. Although you may not have a case if you negligently caused the burn injury yourself, you could have grounds for a claim if another person or entity reasonably could have prevented your burns yet failed to do so. If a defective water heater exploded, for example, the product’s manufacturer could be liable for your burn injuries.
Potentially liable parties for a burn injury that occurs at home include product manufacturers, property owners (if you are renting) and individuals. Any party that reasonably should have prevented your burn injury but failed to do so could be liable for damages. If your burn injury would not have happened but for the action or omission of another party, that party could owe you compensation for causing the incident. Speak to a Dallas burn injury lawyer for help with your case.

Thanksgiving Cooking Safety

Your risk of suffering a burn injury at home increases if you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving is the number one day of the year for home cooking fires, according to the NFPA, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. It is also a popular day for serious burn injuries and related trips to the emergency room. If you plan on cooking this Thanksgiving holiday, do so with safety in mind.

  • Stay in the kitchen the entire time you are using the stovetop.
  • Check on your turkey frequently.
  • Keep hot items at least three feet away from children.
  • Do not let electric cords dangle within reach of children.
  • Keep knives safely out of reach.
  • Keep your kitchen floor clear of toys, clutter and debris.
  • Keep flammable items away from your oven, stovetop and other heating appliances.
  • Avoid using an oil-based turkey fryer.

Turkey fryers that use oil are one of the top causes of Thanksgiving burn injuries and home cooking fires. The NFPA recommends against using an oil-based turkey fryer, but if you do so, position it in your yard at least 10 feet away from any structures. Do not overfill your fryer with oil. Defrost your turkey entirely before dropping it into the oil. Keep a grease-rated fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.

Common Burns You Can Get at Home

The four types of burns you could suffer are thermal, electrical, chemical and radiation. Within these categories are more specific types of burns, such as scalds from hot water or third-degree burns from spilled hot oil, that could injure you at home. Whether it is Thanksgiving or just another day at home, you could end up in the hospital with one of these 10 most common burn injuries.

  1. Fire-related burns
  2. Scalds
  3. Contact burns
  4. Hot liquid burns
  5. Steam burns
  6. Oil burns
  7. Cooking burns
  8. Electrical burns
  9. Chemical burns
  10. Explosion-related burns

Any type of burn could be significantly painful and require emergency medical treatment. If you suffered a first-degree burn (no blistering), you may be able to treat it at home if it is not on your face or another vulnerable area or more than four inches long. For second- and third-degree burns, however, you should see a doctor for professional burn treatment. Without hospitalization, you could be at serious risk of infections and other complications.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 1:33 pm

Do You Need to Testify if You Witnessed an Accident?

Friday, November 22, 2019

If you are one of the first to the scene of an accident, you have certain responsibilities. Whether Texas law requires it or not, you should remain at the scene and assist those in need. You may have the power to save a life as a witness. Although you should never move an injured person unless he or she is in immediate danger, you could take other actions to help, such as calling the police. You could also lend your assistance by testifying about what you saw. To learn more about Texas accident laws consult with an expert Dallas personal injury lawyer today!

By Texas Law, What Is a Witness Required to Do?

By Texas law, a witness does not have any legal responsibilities at the scene of an accident or thereafter. No law requires witnesses to stay or render aid unless they were directly involved in the accident. If you were in an accident in Texas, you must call the police if it caused injuries, deaths or more than $1,000 in property damage. If you only witnessed the accident, you are not legally obligated to call the police or render assistance to those injured. It could save a life, however, if you choose to remain on the scene and be a Good Samaritan.
Do not be afraid of becoming liable for someone’s injuries if you stop to help that person at the scene of an accident. Texas, like many states, has a law that protects Good Samaritans from liability for rendering good faith assistance. The Good Samaritan Law states that if you witness an accident and stop to help those involved, the accident victims cannot file claims against you, even if you unintentionally worsened their injuries or damaged their properties. It protects any witnesses, volunteer first responders and unlicensed medical personnel who act in good faith to help others at the scene of an accident.
If you witness an accident in Texas, remain at the scene and help as much as possible. Do not assume another person has already notified the police. Call 911 yourself if you see anyone with injuries or property damage that appears to exceed $1,000. Ask those involved if they need you to call an ambulance. Try to not move any injured person unless he or she is in imminent danger, such as in a burning vehicle. Moving someone the wrong way could exacerbate an injury. Instead, stay with the person and try to keep him or her calm while you wait for paramedics.

Do You Need to Testify?

Another way in which you could help accident victims is with your testimony. Testifying about what you witnessed could clear up confusion about how the accident occurred. If you remain at the scene of the accident until the police arrive, they may ask you to give a recorded statement about what happened. It is up to you to give the statement or not. You can also leave your name and contact information with those involved in the accident.
While giving a statement or testimony about an accident you witnessed, stick to the facts and only answer the questions asked. Do not embellish or speculate about fault. Answer honestly and accurately. The only time the law will force you to testify as an accident witness is if you receive a subpoena to do so. A subpoena is a court order requiring the named party to testify or appear in court. If you do not receive a subpoena, you do not have to testify if you do not want to.

Can You Decline a Court Appearance?

Most car accident cases settle without requiring trials in court. Some severe or complex cases, however, may go to court to resolve. If an accident you witnessed ends up in court, one or both sides may call you in to appear as a witness. Your account of events could be a type of evidence. You may have to make a statement under oath and answer questions from one or both attorneys. Again, the only time you will have to appear in court or attend a deposition is if you receive a subpoena. Without a subpoena, it will be up to you whether or not to appear in court if asked. If you choose to go to court, prepare to answer questions from both sides about what you saw.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 3:14 pm