Dram shop liability
For anyone that has ever visited a pub, bar, or another drinking establishment that serves alcohol, they are often privy to the number of drinks that the facility is willing to serve. When an intoxicated driver causes an accident, both the drunk driver and the place where he over consumed may have legal responsibility.
For example, while one restaurant may serve two drinks consecutively, another bar might be willing to serve three. Although, it is understood that individuals have some responsibility for how many drinks they choose to 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 the Dram Shop Civil Liability and Criminal Penalty statutes that are guided by each state.
According to research conducted 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.”
Dram Shop Liability Law
In Texas, the law relating to dram shop liability is contained in the Alcoholic Beverage Code.
In short, if a licensed established chooses to serve you alcohol, even though you are clearly intoxicated, then under Texas state law, they can in some cases, be held accountable for any injury or accident that may arise as a result.
If you choose to pursue a lawsuit for damages from over-serving by a drinking establishment, it is important to understand what the Texas law requires. This will save one time and energy when pursuing any kind of legal action.
Legal Requirements to Sue a Bar
In the State of Texas, a statutory cause of action may be pursued upon proof that:
- It was apparent to the provider (staff at the licensed establishment) that the individual that was being sold, served, or provided an alcoholic beverage was clearly intoxicated to the point where it was very possible that the individual posed an immediate danger to themselves and/or others.
- 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 civil action you must show that they were aware of the level of intoxication of the individual.
Proof to Help
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 case to be successful. Often a car accident lawyer will sue the drunk driver and in the course of that investigation find a bar may hold some liability.
In addition, it is important to note that the Dram Shop Liability statute not only applies to bars, pubs, 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 being the drunk driver who has a car accident. Or the customer gets hurt due to his or her intoxication. Bar negligence is a very 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 are Not Easy
Texas, however, has chosen to provide certain statutory defenses to alcohol providers who send all their servers to special training. Nevertheless, 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 dram shop injury lawyers at Baumgartner Law Firm at (281) 587-1111 for a consultation.