Wrong-Way Drunk Driver Kills Motorcyclist
Charges are pending against a man who was allegedly intoxicated when he went the wrong way on the Southwest Freeway and struck a motorcyclist head-on.
Police said there were two people inside the SUV when it collided head-on with the motorcycle. Both vehicles then caught on fire. The SUV occupants weren’t seriously hurt, but the motorcyclist, a man in his 40s, died at the scene.
“According to our investigation, it appears that the driver that went the wrong way has signs of intoxication,” Sgt. Dionne Griffiths said. “The district attorney is on scene now, processing the scene and gathering evidence. We’re probably going to try to charge that driver with intoxication manslaughter.”
First Party Liability
Several defenses could apply in wrong-way collisions. But almost no defenses apply in alcohol-related wrecks, even if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) wasn’t legally drunk. Therefore, a Sugar Land drunk driving accident lawyer can usually obtain maximum compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Alcohol impairs judgment. People who drink and drive do things like mistake exit ramps for entrance ramps. Furthermore, alcohol impairs motor skills. So, when these tortfeasors realize they erred, they cannot react quickly enough to fix things.
Driving while impaired breaches the duty of reasonable care. Circumstantial evidence of impairment includes:
- Bloodshot eyes,
- Slow reflexes,
- Unsteady balance,
- Slurred speech, and
- Odor of alcohol.
In an ordinary negligence case, a Missouri City personal injury lawyer must prove negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. So, a little evidence goes a long way.
Most jurisdictions have mandatory DUI arrest policies. If officers have probable cause of intoxication, they must arrest the defendant. The negligence per se shortcut could apply in these situations. Tortfeasors are liable for damages as a matter of law if:
- They violate a safety law, and
- That violation substantially causes injury.
Additional evidence, like the aforementioned evidence, is still admissible and necessary. Usually, there’s a direct relationship between the amount of evidence a Missouri City personal injury lawyer presents and the amount of compensation jurors award.
Third Party Liability
The aforementioned circumstantial evidence could also prove intoxication at the time of sale. Texas has a broad dram shop law. Commercial establishments that serve alcohol, such as restaurants and bars, are vicariously liable for damages if they knowingly sell alcohol to intoxicated people who cause car crashes or other personal injuries.
The same standard of evidence applies as well. Individually, physical symptoms like bloodshot eyes don’t prove much. But the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Other evidence on this point includes prior alcohol purchases at that location and statements the tortfeasor (negligent driver) made about excessive alcohol consumption.
Texas’ dram shop law also applies to other illegal sales, such as underage sales. The old “s/he looked older” defense usually doesn’t hold up in court, even if the patron used a very convincing fake ID.
Vicarious liability theories like dram shop liability are particularly important in fatal accident cases. Usually, individual tortfeasors don’t have enough insurance to cover all the monetary losses in these cases.
Count on a Tough-Minded Fort Bend County Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Missouri City, contact the Henrietta Ezeoke Law Firm. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.