A Texas Applebees has settled out of court with the family of a two-year-old child who was brain-injured when the car he was riding in was struck by a drunk driver who had just left the restaurant. The drunk driver himself has not yet gone to trial.
The case led to the passage of a new law in Texas. The Abdallah Khader Act, named for the innocent little boy, doubles the amount of time that an alleged drunk driver can spend in prison for intoxication assault cases to 20 years.
Under the Dram Shop Act, a vast majority of states allow victims of drunk driving accidents (or their families) to hold restaurants and bars accountable for serious injuries or death caused by an intoxicated patron if the establishment knew, or should have known, the customer was intoxicated.
In this case, the plaintiff was able to show that the Applebees served the patron more than 20 drinks in less than two hours. Other patrons saw him and knew he was intoxicated, and therefore the restaurant was held liable under the Dram Shop Act.
The family was seeking $10 million in damages. The child lost 80 percent of his brain function in the accident and now requires round the clock care. He will never sit, walk or speak, according to family physicians. The $10 million was requested to cover lost wages for the parents, medical expenses, round the clock medical care, and pain and suffering.
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