Negligence in McKinney Drunk Driver Accidents
The role of negligence in McKinney drunk driver accidents can be very significant in determining whether an individual is eligible to recover compensation for their injuries. This will ultimately depend on Texas’ comparative negligence and dram shop laws. While comparative negligence allows a driver to recover compensation as long as they were not over 50% responsible for causing their accident, dram shop laws allow a driver to hold a bar or restaurant partially at fault for over-serving them and causing their excessive inebriation. Read on to learn more about what goes into negligence in McKinney drunk driver accidents, as well as the ways a skilled injury attorney could represent your best interests today.
Comparative Negligence in McKinney Drunk Driver Accidents
When the majority of the fault belongs to the drunk driver and a minority of the fault belongs to the plaintiff, those cases can be and should be pursued. Texas is a modified comparative negligence state, which means that an at-fault driver will be held responsible for his or her fault. If the at-fault driver or partially at-fault driver happens to be the individual who is injured and bringing the claim, they can bring a claim as long as they are not more than 50% at fault.
This is known as the 51% bar rule. For example, if a drunk driver hit somebody and the jury finds that the drunk driver is 90% at fault and the plaintiff is 10% at fault, then the injured party will be able to recover 90% of their own damages. In addition to that, because there is a DWI involved, the plaintiff can still go after the DWI driver for punitive damages. Those damages can still be awarded even if the injured party is partially at fault.
What if the Plaintiff was Inebriated?
The outcome of cases in which the injured party is also the drunk driver depends upon two factors. The first factor is the causation of the accident. There have been situations in which a driver was drunk but was not at fault for the accident. Perhaps they were sitting at a stop sign and were hit by somebody else. There have been situations in which someone was intoxicated in a place in which they had a right to be that was not on the road, and were then hit by a drunk driver. That has happened a number of times, particularly in second-driver collisions. Some of the worst damage collisions occur when there is somebody stranded on the side of the road due to another accident, whether it is a drunk driver accident or not, and then a drunk driver plows into them. The mere fact that the plaintiff was intoxicated does not mean that they do not have an ability to make recovery. A lot of it depends upon fault.
Dram Shop Laws
The second factor when dealing with a driver who is intoxicated is the dram shop aspect of the case. The law is fairly clear that the more intoxicated an individual is, the less responsible they probably are and the more responsible the bar or restaurant that over-served them probably is. It is one thing to serve a patron to the point of bare minimum legal intoxication, which potentially would result in some responsibility for the bar. It is something else to over-serve someone until he or she cannot function, and then allowing them to drive home, exposing all parties to horrific harm, including the drunk driver.
The law in Texas on dram shop does allow the drunk driver to maintain the claim. However, the law still splits fault between the drunk driver and the potentially at-fault bar. If the driver is more than 50% responsible for his or her injuries, the law bars recovery under the 50% bar rule. While it is very difficult to make one of those claims actionable, in the right circumstance, it could still be possible.
The Role of a Professional Accident Attorney
If you wish to learn more about how negligence in McKinney drunk driver accidents could affect your ability to receive compensation, do not hesitate to reach out to a skilled injury attorney who could answer your questions. Consider scheduling your initial consultation with a lawyer knowledgable about negligence in McKinney drunk driver accidents today.