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Family settles in Texas boy's brain injury case, DWI-related

Applebee's has settled a civil lawsuit brought by a Texas family whose son suffered a brain injury in a car accident. The crash was reportedly caused by a drunk driver who had been a patron of an Applebee's in Mansfield, Texas. The lawsuit alleged -- with receipts backing up the claim -- that the establishment had served the patron over 20 drinks in less than a two-hour time span. At the time of the accident that caused the boy's brain injury, the driver's blood-alcohol content was shown to be more than triple the legal limit of .08 percent.

It is likely that the family used Texas's Dram Shop Act to bolster their case. This law assigns liability to restaurants and other establishments that continue to serve alcohol to over-intoxicated customers, who in turn get in DWI-related car accidents.

In the Dallas area and throughout Texas, drinking establishments have a legal responsibility to serve alcohol in a careful and consistent manner that takes into account the well-being of the general public. Families such as the one in this case tragically suffer anguish and life-altering consequences, all because of an avoidable drunk driving accident. The family's 6-year-old son, who suffered damage to 80 percent of his brain, will require ongoing medical treatment, perhaps for the rest of his life.

The family sought $10 million from Applebee's. As a result of the recent settlement, they may now be able to afford a much-needed special van for the boy, as well as pay for his ongoing care.

Source: Reuters, "Applebee's Settles Family's DWI Crash Lawsuit," Andrew Chow, May 30, 2012

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