Dram Shop Lawsuits–or Lawsuits Against Bars
Written by Greg on March 8, 2013
In Texas, we have a statute that deals with lawsuits against bars or clubs that over-serve customers who later get into accidents, usually injuring innocent third parties. The law is known as the “dram shop” statute and is named after the old-time name for a bar that served “drams” of alcohol.
It is no secret that Houston leads the entire United States in fatal drunk driving car accidents. Despite the best efforts of the finest law enforcement officials anywhere, Texas and Houston have been plagued with ongoing and continuous the DUI accidents where innocent people are injured or killed.
Club Owners Can Be Held Accountable for DWI Accidents
The dram shop act applies to those who sell alcohol under a liquor license in the state of Texas. While the act is very burdensome upon a plaintiff, a bar or club that over serves a patron who later is involved in a serious car accident involving injury or death can be sued for over-serving the customer. The intoxication of the customer must be a proximate cause of the injury or damages.
There are certain safe harbors available for bars or clubs who act responsibly and send their servers to special classes to be certified. This safe harbor allows a defense to over serving the patron except in certain circumstances.
Because of the continued problems in the battle against drunk driving in Texas, and the hundreds of innocent Texans who are injured and killed every year, it is time that we took action on the dram shop law to strengthen civil accountability.
First Steps Should Be Made By Legislators in Texas
Requiring insurance covering liquor liability is a needed first step. Making the burden of proof balanced with the rights of innocent members of our community is also needed.
Only when bars or clubs face consequences will we truly see a decline in the number of Texas families ripped apart because of a drunk driving accident.
Greg Baumgartner is a drunk driving accident lawyer and also the founder of the Baumgartner Law Firm, which is located at 6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX 77069, (281) 587-1111.