If you suffered injuries or a loved one was killed in a drunk driving wreck, you can hold the drunk driver liable for compensating you. However, you may also have other options for compensation to ensure that you receive all that you are entitled to. You may be able to pursue a claim against the restaurant or bar that served the negligent driver alcohol under Texas’ Dram Shop Law.
What Is the Texas Dram Shop Law?
A dram shop refers to a place, such as a bar, tavern, or restaurant, that serves alcohol. Dram shop laws holds the business establishment liable for injuries or death caused by the overconsumption of alcohol. Texas’ Dram Shop Law is contained in the Alcoholic Beverage Code, and it holds a bar or other business liable for selling alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person. You could have a dram shop claim if you can prove the following:
- The bar or other establishment must have continued to sell alcohol to the intoxicated person after he was visibly intoxicated when he was a danger to himself or others, and this must have been the proximate cause of your injures, or
- You are a minor and suffered injuries as a result of the bar serving you alcohol illegally.
How to Prove Negligence Under Texas Dram Shop Law
In many states, a victim of a drunk driving accident must simply prove that the establishment served the drunk driver alcohol to hold the establishment liable for his injuries under a strict liability theory. This is not the case in Texas. A licensed alcohol selling business is not automatically liable and is only responsible for the proportion of its liability in causing the victim’s injuries. For example, if the bar or restaurant was found to be 40 percent at fault, it would only owe 40 percent of the compensation that the victim is entitled to.
To prove that the bartender or other employee of the business knew that the person was obviously intoxicated, you do not need to show that the staff member witnessed his drunken behavior. It is sufficient to prove that the employee should have seen the visible signs of intoxication. Some ways to establish this include:
- Testimony of other witnesses as to the drunk driver’s behavior
- Blood alcohol level at the time of the crash
- Expert witness testimony as to how the blood alcohol level would have affected the person’s behavior
If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, holding a bar or other business responsible for your injuries as well as the driver could ensure that you receive the full value of your claim. However, you will need the help of an experienced drunk driving accident attorney to do so. Start an online chat to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your situation and get your questions answered about your legal options.