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Serving Responsibly is Just as Important as Drinking Responsibly

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If the phrase "please drink responsibly" sounds familiar, it is probably because you hear it at the end of any commercial for beer, wine, or liquor. But did you know that establishments that sell alcohol can be held liable for not "serving responsibly?"

In 1987, the state of Texas passed the Texas Dram Shop Act, which finally allowed victims to hold sellers of alcohol liable for damages caused by drunk drivers that were over served.

The law states that if a licensed establishment chooses to serve or sell someone alcohol, even though they are clearly intoxicated, then it is possible for the establishment to be held responsible for any injury or accident caused by the drunk driver.

To support a case under dram shop liability, a party needs to prove two things:

•1. The individual being sold or served alcohol was clearly intoxicated to the point where they pose a danger to themselves or others.

•2. The intoxication of the over served individual directly caused injuries or damages.

Proof can come in many forms, such as eye-witness testimony regarding the physical appearance and behavior of the intoxicated person, analysis of the person's blood-alcohol concentration, or even the receipts of purchase.

However, the Alcoholic Beverage Code also contains a "safe harbor provision" that protects establishments if they engage in practices such as only hiring employees that have undergone state approved training programs, and if they do not encourage their employees to over serve.

The laws concerning dram shop liability are complex. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driver, you need an attorney experienced with dram shop laws by your side to help you navigate them in order to get the justice you deserve. Contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 for a free consultation.

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