$25 Million Awarded In DWI Crash

JFK-Memorial-with-Dallas-County-Courthouse-behind-itLate yesterday the jury found that the night club that over-served former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent was equally responsible with Brent and awarded a huge verdict of $25 million. Each of the defendants was found to be 48 percent at fault. The Dallas Cowboy who tragically died, Jerry Brown, Jr., was held to be four percent to blame. The money will be paid to Brown’s mother and his estate.

Punitive damages were almost awarded but the verdict must be unanimous and one of the twelve jurors did not vote for the additional award.
The car accident in the early morning hours on December 8, 2012 occurred six minutes after Brent and Brown left Beamers private club after they had been drinking there for several hours. Brent was driving his new Mercedes at a speed of 110 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone when he lost control on Highway 114 in Irving and his car flipped upside down.

Brent’s blood alcohol content was .18%, more than two times the legal limit in Texas. An expert for the plaintiffs testified that a man as large as Brent would have had to have consumed a shocking 17 alcoholic beverages.

Jurors rejected the arguments of the bar and its management company that Brent was intoxicated either before he entered the club or after he left.

The defense produced two servers who testified that Brent did not appear to be obviously intoxicated. However surveillance video showed him ordering three bottles of champagne and drinking from a bottle and serving himself in violation of club rules. At trial on Monday, Brent could not remember how many drinks he had consumed.

The club’s attempt to blame the passenger also failed.

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2-bagsOur firm always enjoys brightening the holiday season for under-served children. We donate gifts and support an elementary school, the Tarrant Area Food Bank, and other non-profit organizations.

Yesterday I threw 80 footballs out to the boys and girls in the after-school fitness program. We ran around the school and passed the balls back and forth.

I urged them to keep running and walking over their holiday break to get in shape for the big Cowtown Marathon’s 5K in February.

Funeral

We here in Dallas-Fort Worth have some of the most dangerous roads in the U.S.

This weekend, the news media reported three deadly crashes from Friday night through Saturday night which highlight the constant dangers from bad drivers:

1. East Fort Worth: Two children, six years and 11-months-old, tragically lost their lives Saturday night on East Loop 820 at Craig Street when a speeding pickup truck hydroplaned on the highway and hit their car.

2. South Dallas: A man driving while intoxicated failed to yield the right of way and crashed into another car on East Ledbetter Drive on Saturday at midnight, taking the life of his 23-year-old passenger. The driver was arrested for intoxication manslaughter.

3. East Dallas: A woman walking on Garland Road near East Northwest Highway was struck and killed by a driver who hit-and-ran on Friday night. The driver was found only because her license plate fell off at impact.

Fatal car and truck wrecks are constant here. In Dallas on Wednesday night, a speeding driver in a Porsche 911 sports car lost control, hit another car, and flew off the ramp. He and his passenger flipped and landed below on Central Expressway, killing both. Today, former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent will testify in the case filed against the bar accused of over-serving him before he was in a crash that killed his teammate and best friend.

We at Berenson Injury Law send our sincerest condolences to the families.

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If you have been in a car crash, you need to understand that the auto claims process is designed to cheat you. Insurance companies use tactics designed to keep you from getting your damages paid back for car repair, medical bills, lost wages, pain, and other items. This includes not just the other driver’s  insurance company but your own if you have purchased collision, rental car, personal injury protection, medical payments, uninsured motorist, and underinsured motorist benefits. This post will explain what you can do to protect your rights and make more money.

Auto Claims

Insurance companies are obviously in business to make as much money as possible. They make less profits if they pay out substantial amounts in claims. So an  adjuster looks for ways to save his company money.

Even if he seems friendly, he is trained to use often abusive tactics that guarantee that he (or a jury if you take your case to trial) pays less than what a claimant deserves. Smart people know this and seek immediate help from a personal injury specialist.

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Drunk Customers, Car Crashes, And The Dram Shop Act

Background: Former Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent was driving his teammate and best friend Jerry Brown, Jr. home almost exactly six years ago.  They and other Cowboys had been drinking for hours at a private night club in North Dallas. Brent hit the curb and flipped over his Mercedes in Irving at a speed of 110 miles an hour just a few minutes after leaving the bar. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter but the sentence was probated and he only served six months in jail. The deceased’s family filed a Dram Shop lawsuit against the bar in 2013. The case finally goes to trial today in Dallas.

Case: The family has claimed that Beamers Private Club was at fault because it served Brent an excessive amount of alcohol. His blood alcohol level was .18 — more than two times the legal limit. The bar denied liability and filed a cross-claim against Brent, claiming that he was the sole cause of the crash. The jury has to decide if the bar violated the Dram Shop Act by continuing to serve Brent when he was obviously intoxicated.

Questions answered in this post:

  1. What is a Dram Shop lawsuit?
  2. Can a bar or restaurant be held liable for a car or truck collision when a driver is intoxicated?
  3. What laws and court cases control the outcome of the case?
  4. Will these affect the trial of the former Dallas Cowboy?

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Why Do Drivers Suffer Broken Bones After a Car Accident?

Getting injured in a car accident can alter your life, especially if you unfortunately broke a bone. The amount of money you receive in a settlement or jury verdict can be substantial but this will depend on the type of fracture, severity, treatment, bills, and other factors. This can be a complicated subject that requires the services of a personal injury attorney.

Broken Bones After Car Accident

When another vehicle crashes into yours — especially one like a tractor-trailer that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds or a heavy pickup truck or SUV –the inertia causes a violent force within your vehicle that can throw you against the door frame or steering wheel. If you are traveling 65 miles an hour on an interstate and another vehicle hits you at this or a faster speed, your body will continue moving quickly forward and sideways, even if restrained by a seat belt and shoulder harness. Further, your arms, hands, legs, or feet can get twisted and trapped. This sudden jerking motion can cause fractures.

What You Should Know about Texas Car Accident Laws

If you have been injured in a car accident in Texas, you might want to familiarize yourself with basic Texas car accident laws. This will give you a better understanding of how to recover your financial damages and know what questions to ask a personal injury lawyer who can assist you.

Texas Car Accident Laws

Reporting the Accident

Are you driving to a relative’s house for the Thanksgiving holiday?

You’ll be joining a record 54 million travelers. No wonder Thanksgiving is just as well known for stressful travel as for feasts, family and football.

Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year. This year’s holiday promises to be the biggest since 2005.

48.5 Million will be on the roads, a 5 percent increase over last year.

Check out these travel stats, courtesy of ICE Portal

  • 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving (a 3.3% increase over last year.)
  • Eighty-nine percent of travelers are planning a Thanksgiving road trip.
  • Consumers will pay the cheapest average airfare since 2013.
  • 3.95 million travelers will fly by air (a 5% increase from last year.)
  • Thanksgiving Travel by other modes (train, buses, cruises) is expected to increase by 1.1% from last year (1.48 million travelers.)

Unfortunately American roads are the most deadly in the industrialized world. This is a new phenomenon. In the 1990s the fatality rates were among the lowest in the world. These days, Slovenians’ roads are safer.  Continue reading

Enjoy Family Dinners and Football Games … and Try to Stay Clear of Drunk Drivers 

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I thoroughly enjoy sharing a meal with my family and enjoying my blessings. I’m looking forward to seeing my Texas Longhorns win and there are a lot of other great games on this weekend. 

I will also be very careful about when I drive this weekend. 

Car accidents don’t always result in injury fortunately. Sometimes all you need to do is to file a property damage claim and get reimbursed by the insurance company. But sometimes getting the money you need to repair or replace your car isn’t that easy. Sometimes problems arise because of the circumstances of the crash. Other times it’s a matter of miscommunication. Below are some things you need to know about filing a property damage claim.

Filing a Property Damage Claim

1. File with the insurance company of the at-fault driver

If it is clear that the other driver is at-fault, file with his or her insurance company. If you aren’t sure at this point, go ahead and file with your own insurance company as well, which is always faster. Even if you learn the other driver was at fault after your insurance company pays your damages, they will seek subrogation to get the damages they paid reimbursed and get your deductible back. You have time limits for filing a property damage claim so don’t delay.

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