Dram Shop Act

Each year thousands are affected by the negligence of persons driving under the influence. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk driving crashes. That would equate to one person every 50 minutes.

In Texas alone, roughly 322 people lost their lives in 2018 as a result of persons driving intoxicated. In an effort to combat drinking and driving and to hold all those responsible accountable, the Texas legislature gave life the Dram Shop Act in 1987. Under Section 2.02 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, this Act imposes liability on the sellers of alcoholic beverages who over-serve intoxicated patrons.

Persons affected by an over-served patron’s intoxication may bring a civil suit against a provider of alcoholic beverages if they can prove:

(1) at the time the provision occurred it was apparent to the provider that the individual being sold, served, or provided with an alcoholic beverage was obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others; and

(2) the intoxication of the recipient of the alcoholic beverage was a proximate cause of the damages suffered.

A clear application of the Dram Shop Act was applied in a Bexar County case where a drunk driver killed two people as they walked along the shoulder of a road. The decedents’ parents brought suit against the intoxicated driver and the operator of the club where the driver had been drinking prior to the accident. A jury found both the driver and provider liable and awarded damages in excess of two million dollars to the surviving family members.

If you or someone you know needs representation in a civil dispute, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-231-9360 or toll-free at 713-222-7211.