Here’s an incredible story with a happy ending.
A 22-year-year old woman was driving in Burleson at 6:00 a.m. in January when she took a curve too fast, drove through a ditch, and flipped her car over in a driveway. The driver and my client — who was asleep in the back — had been drinking.
The homeowner, 85-year-old Lindell Marbut, was awakened by the crash. He hobbled outside on his cane and saw the car on fire. The senior citizen rushed into action. He used his cane to break the glass, rescue the driver, and with the help of his caregiver, drag her into his garage.
The two rushed back and saved my client from the flaming car.
Marbut was modest about what he had done. “I just feel like an old man trying to save somebody’s life. I’d do it again if I had to.” His heroic actions were recognized by Texas Monthly and D Magazine.
Bravo, Mr. Marbut! We all hope we have your courage, strength, and quick thinking when we’re that age.
And here’s the happy part
The driver disappeared after the collision. We couldn’t get her to respond, let alone admit that she was at fault. The insured driver must cooperate with his or her insurance carrier or the claim can be denied so that presented a serious challenge. We were able to track down her parents and explain the gravity of the situation and that I was going to not only sue their daughter but them for negligently entrusting their vehicle to her. This caused the driver to speak to her company and accept responsibility.
But the driver’s company tried to claim that my client was equally at fault for being intoxicated and getting into the vehicle. The fact that she was herself impaired would have easily prevented her from getting any money if she had filed a lawsuit.
This issue was first addressed by the Texas Supreme Court in 1982 in an uninsured motorist benefits case where the wife of the intoxicated driver died. More recently, the Dallas Court of Appeals refused to allow a restaurant to use this argument to defeat a claim against it under the Dram Shop Act which prohibits a restaurant or bar from overserving customers. Juries often assign more than 50% comparative negligence to the passenger who was also drunk.
But I refused to take one penny less than the entire amount available and was about to file suit when I was able to obtain the maximum amount available for my client from the liability company. I also got the entire underinsured motorist policy and personal injury protection benefits paid. And if there had been a restaurant or bar that had over served the driver and the young woman had assets that could be attached, I would have tried to collect more money.
I then slashed my client’s substantial medical bills to almost zero. She had suffered serious personal injuries and had her wrist operated on. About five months after being hired, I was able to give her a substantial check which was over two-thirds of the total money available.
I always fight to put as much money as possible in my client’s pocket and often reduce medical bills and my own fee and expenses to make sure that this happens.
If you or a loved one has been injured by an intoxicated driver, you should immediately consult with a personal injury lawyer. He can walk you through what is often a complicated legal process and pursue all possible sources of recovery.
Berenson Law has been prosecuting drunk drivers for over 37 years and we understand what you are going through. We are here to fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We demand the entire insurance limits of the intoxicated driver and almost always are able to obtain them, then pursue other insurance policies and sources of recovery. One of my specialties is DWI cases like this one. Well, they are not usually this dramatic!
Please contact us here for your free consultation.