Holding Houston Bars Responsible for Over Serving Customers

Written by Greg on October 16, 2015

For anyone that visits a bar, there is some expectation of personal accountability on how many drinks they buy and their behavior as a result. For example, it’s commonly understood that an individual should be aware of their own limitations when it comes to alcohol. However, it should equally be noted that in many states some of that responsibly also falls on the shoulders of the bars and bar owners themselves. Many are obligated to only serve customers a certain amount, as over serving customers can not only elevate the potential for harm later, but can also lead to repercussions for the bar owners themselves.

Such as the case for the Texas Dram Shop Act, an act that became a state law when it was enacted in 1987. Recently, the Texas Supreme Court interpreted the act in an opinion that will go on to directly affect lawsuits that have been brought against sellers of alcohol who have served intoxicated individuals who have then suffered some type of injuries.

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 it was apparent that the recipient of said alcohol was intoxicated and as such, there was the high probability that the individual posed a threat to themselves or others.
  • The intoxication of that individual then proximately caused the damages suffered.

In addition to the surrounding 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 aforementioned provisions.

The testimony of persons that witnessed the intoxicated behavior can be very helpful in cases against bars. Additionally, circumstantial evidence may also be considered 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.

Overall, the Texas Dram Shop Act was largely written as a result of lawsuits that occurred from a drunken driver; either by a car that has been hit by a drunken driver, by other passengers in the same vehicle, or by a pedestrian who has been struck by a drunken driver.

No matter why the Texas Dram Shop Act was created, it is extremely vital in showcasing that accountability not only lies with the individual who has been drinking, but can also be with bars that over serve someone who obviously was drunk.

If you or a loved one have been hit by a drunk driver, call the Baumgartner Law Firm for a free consultation about your rights and options. (281) 587-1111.

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Posted Under: Auto Accidents

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