Drunken Drivers Cause Multiple Crashes in Dallas
The Dallas Morning News reports that Dallas Police arrested a wrong way driver who caused several crashes on Central Expressway overnight Monday. The suspect, 29-year-old Olga Fernandez-Caraveo, was charged with driving while intoxicated. She was spotted driving south in the northbound lanes of Central Expressway around 11:30 pm Monday. Two vehicles crashed while trying to avoid her.
This is the first of two such incidents this week. Early Wednesday morning, three people were hospitalized when a suspected drunken driver fleeing another crash struck their car in downtown Dallas. The driver, identified as 24-year-old Nathan Clark, fled a crash just north of downtown before running a red light and slamming into a Nissan, injuring the three passengers.
Drunken driving is a growing epidemic in Texas and across the country. The National Transportation Safety Administration reports that 10,076 people were killed in drunken driving accidents nationwide in 2013. In Texas alone, 1041 people were killed in drunken driving accidents in 2014. 364 of those were someone other than the drunk driver. The statistics show that the drunk drivers not only put themselves at risk, they also put at risk others who are unfortunate enough to come across them. This epidemic must be stopped. Unfortunately, the efforts to stop drinking and driving by MADD and other like-minded groups, the number of deaths and injuries continue to increase. Other ways to modify this behavior do exist. Tort law and its remedies may ultimately prove to be the manner in which real change is affected.
Tort law is a body of rights, obligations and remedies that provide relief to persons who suffered harm from the wrongful acts of others. A tort is a legal wrong committed upon the person or property of another. The law provides the remedy of damages for the person wronged.
Crashes caused by drunk drivers are torts and are compensable under the law. These claims are typically negligence claims and will be covered by the liability insurance covering the auto and/or persons involved. The existence of liability insurance, while beneficial to the person harmed, is often inadequate to compensate fully for the harms suffered. Relatively low minimum insurance requirements can leave the injured under compensated for their loss. However, diligent plaintiff lawyers have found other avenues to recover on behalf their clients.
One possible source of recovery for a drunken driving crash is against the owner of the vehicle under a theory of negligent entrustment. To recover under a negligent entrustment theory, you must establish that the owner entrusted the vehicle to someone he knows or should have known to be incompetent or reckless. If that person is then negligent and someone is injured, the owner (and his insurer) can be held responsible.
Another source of recovery is under the Texas Dram Shop statute, §2.02 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code. Someone who provides, sells or serves an alcoholic beverage to one that is obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presents a clear danger to himself and others and the intoxication of the recipient caused damage, can be held responsible for the damage suffered. Similarly, an adult over 21 is liable for damages caused by the intoxication of a minor under the age of 18 if the adult provided any alcoholic beverages that contributed to the minors intoxication or allowed the minor to be served alcoholic beverages that contributed to the minors intoxication on the premises of the adult. Both of these statutory causes of action can provide an avenue for recovery against the provider of alcoholic beverages to the intoxicated person. More importantly, they can provide an avenue for a person injured by a drunken driver to recover for the harm he suffered.
Drunken driving claims are complicated. They often involve multiple causes of action against several different defendants. Claims of proportionate responsibility must be dealt with. The facts must be fully understood and the law researched to ensure that every possible source of recovery is considered. At Fisher Injury Lawyers, we are experienced representing persons harmed by drunk drivers. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Fisher Injury Lawyers leave no stone unturned to find every possible way to get our clients fully compensated for their loss suffered at the hands of a drunken driver.
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