Can I Sue a Bar That Over-served Causing an Accident with a Drunk Driver?
Written by Greg on June 7, 2020
When in a bar, here is some expectation of personal accountability on how many drinks a person consumes. An individual should know their limitations with alcohol. If you have been hit by a drunk driver, you may have questions?
In many states, like Texas, some of that responsibly also falls on the shoulders of the bars and bar owners themselves. Many must only serve customers a certain amount, as over-serving customers can not only elevate the potential for harm but can also lead to repercussions for the bar owners themselves.
In Texas, a lawsuit against a provider of alcohol for serving more alcohol to someone intoxicated at the time is known as a “dram shop case.”
The Dram Shop Law in Texas
Such as the case for the Texas Dram Shop Act, an act that became a state law when it was enacted in 1987. The Texas Supreme Court interpreted the statute in an opinion that directly affects lawsuits brought against sellers of alcohol who have served obviously intoxicated individuals who have then suffered injuries. The Dram Shop Act is the exclusive remedy in filing a lawsuit against a bar in Texas for serving a drunk.
Under the statute, a provider can be liable for damages in a civil suit based the following proof:
- When the provider sold or served alcohol, the recipient of the alcohol was intoxicated, and there was a high probability that the individual threatened themselves or others.
- The intoxication of that individual then proximately caused the damages suffered.
Besides civil liability that may result from over-serving an individual and causing an indirect accident, the research also notes that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has the authority to revoke the alcohol permit of an alcoholic beverage provider that violates the provisions.
How to Prove Your Case?
The testimony of persons that witnessed the intoxicated behavior can be beneficial in cases against bars. And circumstantial evidence may also be considered. Proof such as one’s blood alcohol measured at some point later, slurred speech, staggered walking, and other visual clues that would have alerted one to the fact that the individual was intoxicated well before being served more drinks.
No matter why the Texas Dram Shop Act was created, it is vital in showcasing that accountability not only lies with the individual drinking but can also be with bars that over-serve someone who obviously was drunk.
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