Couple blames drunk driver in rental car for collision

Kelly Holleran Mar. 2, 2010, 3:31pm

Two Harris County residents say they sustained physical pain and disabilities after an allegedly intoxicated driver struck their vehicle.

Dora and William Bennett filed a lawsuit Feb. 22 in Jefferson County District Court against James Bates and Avis Rent-a-Car.

The Bennetts claim Bates struck the vehicle in which they rode on Dec. 19 in Beaumont. At the time of the collision, Bates drove a rental vehicle from Avis, according to the complaint.

Because of the collision, the Bennetts suffered physical pain, disability, mental anguish and suffering; lost earnings; and incurred medical costs, the suit states. In addition, they sustained physical disfigurement and physical impairment, the complaint says.

They blame Bates for causing the collision, saying he failed to keep a proper lookout, failed to timely apply his brakes, failed to timely swerve to avoid a collision, failed to drive in a reasonable manner, failed to obey traffic laws, drove inattentively and under the influence of alcohol and drove while intoxicated.

The Bennetts claim Avis should never have rented the car to Bates because it knew him to be an unsafe and dangerous driver.

The Bennetts seek a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs, pre- and post-judgment interest at the legal rate and other relief the court deems just.

Paul A. Higdon of Stern, Miller and Higdon in Bellaire will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: B186-093.

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