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Suing Bars and Clubs For Over Serving


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What is Dram Shop Liability?

Anyone who has visited a pub, bar, or another drinking establishment serving alcohol is often privy to the number of drinks the facility is willing to serve. Dram shop laws are designed to protect the public. When an intoxicated driver causes an accident, the drunk driver and the place where he is overserved may have legal responsibility in Texas. If a drunk driver has hurt you call our DUI DWI accident attorney in Houston.

Over Served at a Bar or Restaurant

For example, while one restaurant may serve two or three drinks consecutively, another bar might be willing to serve many more. Serving alcohol to an intoxicated person leads to accidents and dram shop cases.

Although it is understood that individuals have some responsibility for how many drinks they consume, in equal measure, the establishment does hold some liability in its choice to over-serve drinks to an individual.

This is the backbone of each state’s Dram Shop Civil Liability and Criminal Penalty statutes.

According to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures, “thirty states have statutory provisions that allow licensed establishments such as restaurants, bars, and liquor stores to be held liable for selling or serving alcohol to individuals who cause injuries or death as a result of their intoxication.”

What are Dram Shop Laws in Texas?

Beer with warning

In Texas, the law relating to dram shop liability is contained in the Alcoholic Beverage Code.

In short, if a licensed establishment chooses to serve you alcohol, even though you are intoxicated. Under Texas state law, they can sometimes be held accountable for any injury or accident that may arise.

If you choose to pursue a lawsuit for damages from over-serving by a drinking establishment, it is important to understand what Texas law requires. This will save time and energy when pursuing any kind of legal action.

Legal Requirements to Sue a Bar for Overserving a Drunk Driver

In the State of Texas, a statutory cause of action may be pursued upon proof that:

  1. It was apparent to the provider (staff at the licensed establishment) that the individual being sold, served, or provided an alcoholic beverage was clearly intoxicated to the point where the individual might have posed an immediate danger to themselves and/or others.
  2. The intoxication of the individual that has received the alcoholic beverage is a direct result of the damages that have been suffered.

Looking at the above requirements, to proceed with a civil action, you must show that they were aware of the level of intoxication of the individual. Talking with an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer in Houston is a good step to protect your best interests after getting hit by a drunk driver.

Proof for Dram Shop Cases Against Bars

Often, proof can consist of eye-witness testimony of the drunk and actions of the person over-served. Not to mention receipts of drinks purchased.  Moreover, damages must be proven to be a direct result of alcohol consumption for a civil dram shop case to be successful.

Often, a car accident lawyer will sue the drunk driver and, during that investigation, find a bar that may hold some liability.

In addition, it is important to note that the Dram Shop Liability statute or Dram Shop laws in Texas apply not only to bars, pubs, and restaurants but also to liquor stores, private events, social clubs, or any other establishment where alcohol is served.

Over-serving alcohol can cause very serious negative consequences. One of them is a drunk driver who has a car accident.  Or the customer gets hurt due to his or her intoxication. If the intoxicated person was over-served alcoholic beverages and caused injury to a victim in a drunk driving accident, there may be a dram shop claim, and a personal injury lawyer can file a dram shop lawsuit.

Bar negligence is a real problem that, if not addressed, can lead to more individuals being over-served when it is very clear that they are intoxicated. Dram shop cases go hand in hand with drunk driving accidents.

The customer must have been visibly intoxicated, and the bar continued to sell alcoholic beverages to them.

Dram Shop Cases in Texas are Not Easy

Texas, however, has chosen to provide certain statutory defenses to alcohol providers who send all their servers to special training. Nevertheless, even with the defenses, cases can still proceed if the dram shop attorney handling the case can prove the club encouraged the servers to violate the policies regarding serving patrons.

Talk with a Dram Shop Attorney in Houston

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a drunk driver and would like to explore a case against the bar or club, contact the Houston dram shop liability lawyers at Baumgartner Law Firm at (281) 587-1111 for a consultation.

Baumgartner Law Firm

6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX, 77069

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