Last Sunday night, a drunk driver swerved across College Avenue into oncoming traffic and crashed into an SUV. The collision led to the death of a 23-year-old mother and injured her 1-year-old son and 46-year-old mother. The drunk driver, 19-year-old Erick Hernandez, consumed roughly a dozen drinks at a South Houston bar before he left in his Ford F-150 pickup truck.
Surveillance video revealed that the bar served Hernandez drinks over the course of 6 hours before he left the bar visibly intoxicated at approximately 10:49 pm. As a result, five of the bar’s employees are being charged for misdemeanors for serving alcohol to an under-aged patron.
Hernandez faces charges for second-degree felony manslaughter for the mother’s death. He could serve up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
“This Family Should be Celebrating the Holiday, But Is Instead Planning a Funeral”
According to an analysis of federal statistics by the Houston Chronicle, the Houston metro area leads the nation in fatal traffic accidents involving intoxicated drivers. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg began focusing on this problem since taking office last year, coordinating with the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission on developing efforts to educate bars and prosecuting those who served alcohol to under-aged customers.
“This tragedy should never have happened,” District Attorney Ogg commented. “This family should be celebrating the holiday, but is instead planning a funeral.”
Can Bar Employees Be Liable for Overserving Alcohol?
Under Texas’ dram shop statute, commercial providers of alcoholic beverages may be liable for injuries caused by intoxicated customers. Tex. Alco. Bev. Code §§2.01-2.03. Bars are responsible for such injuries if they continued to serve a patron who was visibly intoxicated. The plaintiff in a lawsuit under the dram shop statute must prove that the customer’s intoxication was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
In this case, the bar and its employees might be liable to pay damages to the late mother's family in a wrongful death lawsuit. The surviving family of a person who died as a result of another person’s wrongful conduct can sue the at-fault party for damages arising from their loved one’s death. Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit include economic damages, such as medical and funeral expenses, as well as noneconomic damages, such as mental anguish and loss of companionship.
Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident? We Can Help.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries from an accident caused by a drunk driver, are entitled to a legal remedy. Therefore, you should retain the services of a qualified Houston personal injury attorney with experience litigating car accident cases. At Farah Law, we have dedicated our practice to representing plaintiffs in personal injury matters, including car accident cases. We will commit the resources and attention necessary to address the specific needs of your situation so we can maximize your chances of recovering a settlement or verdict that reflects what you are entitled to receive under the law.
To arrange for a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys, call the office of Farah Law at (888) 481-9359 or contact us online today.