This guest post is from Mr. Carlos Santiago.
In February of this year, UT soccer player Kylie Doniak was hit by a drunk driver at the intersection of San Jacinto and 8th street. The driver, Nicholas Ray Colunga, was reportedly drinking for several hours before getting in his car to leave, and the family of Doniak is now hoping to file a case against both Colunga and the negligent bar management at the establishment where he was drinking.
The bars that Colunga frequented on the night of the accident include Vice and Fuel. The lawsuit states that the young man displayed signs of intoxication on multiple occasions, yet the bartenders continued to serve him. When he hit Doniak, he ran a red light and fled the scene of the crime before being detained by another person before the police could arrive to make the arrest.
Yassine Enterprises, the entity that owns the two clubs listed in the lawsuit, was recently in trouble for other unrelated crimes. In March, Fuel was shut down and several Yassine Enterprises executives were arrested for drug charges, money laundering, and weapon crimes. Colunga is facing two separate federal charges, including failure to stop and render aid and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Texas Dram Shop Liability Laws
In Texas, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and other vendors of alcohol can be held responsible for the actions of their patrons if a jury determines that they knowingly over-served the individual. This legal classification is known as dram shop liability and was created to help prevent establishments from serving individuals who are visibly intoxicated.
This law has been in effect since 1987 when the Texas Dram Shop Act stated that sellers of alcohol must identify whether or not a patron is “obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presents a clear danger to himself and others.”
In this specific case, the damages associated with the drunk driving accident are extensive. Doniak was seriously injured and her medical expenses include various types of treatment. Some of the costs that the Doniak family is seeking to be covered in their lawsuit against the bars include:
- Mental impairment
- Mental anguish
- Physical pain
- Lost earning capacity
- Future lost earnings
Her parents, also victims in this accident, have included their own losses in this case. The additional damages include:
- Mental anguish
- Out of pocket expenses
- Value of services caring for Kylie
- Lost wages
At this point, medical professionals think that Doniak will face permanent damage from the accident and will require lifelong medical aid. By working with a personal injury lawyer, the Doniak family may be able to hold Yassine Enterprises responsible for the costs of their losses in order to offset the financial demands of Kylie’s treatment and the suffering of their family.