If a business serves alcoholic beverages, specifically for consumption on their property, they are classed as a “dram shop” and this means they have a duty of care to anyone they serve alcohol to.
When a dram shop serves alcohol to someone who is clearly too intoxicated, and this individual goes on to cause personal injury to another person, a dram shop claim may be raised against the premises for their negligence.
Every single year there are numerous fatalities as a result of over intoxication. Drunk patrons may get into their vehicle and drive home, committing a DUI whilst drastically increasing their chances of a fatal crash.
If you or somebody you love has been injured as a result of a drunk driver, you have every right and entitlement to seek compensation for your damages under Houston, Texas dram shop law.
Here at Abraham Watkins, we have been dealing with personal injury cases since 1951. Our experienced team knows exactly how to navigate the complexities of Houston dram shop law. We have won favorable outcomes and fair and reasonable compensation for numerous clients in similar situations to yours.
Our phone lines are always manned, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so give us a call at 713-535-9319 and arrange a free consultation today!
Dram Shop Liability Explained
Dram shop liability refers to the legal responsibility and liability any club, bar, or restaurant that serves alcohol has towards the public for their customers who are obviously intoxicated. It essentially places responsibility on venues to stop them from serving people who are already too drunk.
Dram shop laws are named after the single measure of alcohol, a“dram”, and are laid out in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
They were introduced to reduce the number of serious and tragic accidents that occur when drunken drivers take to the roads.
If you have been involved in an accident caused by an intoxicated driver, and the venue served the drunk driver more alcohol than is reasonable, you may have recourse to seek compensation from that venue under Texas’ dram shop law.
Do I Have a Dram Shop Case?
Under Texas’ dram shop laws, you will need to provide evidence that someone was served alcohol at a venue, responsible under dram shop liability, and that they served that person alcohol when they were obviously intoxicated.
If this person was permitted to leave the venue, enter their vehicle, drive away, and they then caused an auto accident resulting in the personal injury of another party, you may be entitled to seek compensation.
The best course of action is to call a Houston dram shop lawyer as soon as physically possible after the accident. You should also call the police at the scene of any drunk driving accidents if you are able to. They will be able to perform a blood alcohol test which will be instrumental in your case later on.
Steps You Should Take After a DUI Accident
The aftermath of a car accident can be one of the most overwhelming and chaotic situations an individual will ever encounter in their life. Victims often go into shock, meaning that everything seems strange and their thoughts can feel distant. This makes it difficult to make decisions from a place of clarity.
Here are some things to try and remember if you ever find yourself in the aftermath of an accident involving a drunk driver:
- Do not leave the scene – It is really important that you stay on the scene if you have been involved in an accident involving a drunk driver. You should make sure you move to a place of safety if possible and if your injuries allow it, but do not leave the scene entirely.
- Check for injuries – Check for injuries, first your own, then any passengers or other parties that have been involved in the accident.
- Call an ambulance if there are injuries – If there are any injuries, no matter how small, you should call the ambulance services as soon as physically possible. This serves multiple purposes, they can administer first aid and address any injuries of all involved. This may include checking for hidden injuries like internal bleeding or spinal damage. They will also file a report that can be used as unbiased evidence later on in court.
- Call the police – Regardless of whether or not there are any injuries, you should always call the police following an auto accident. They will be able to control the flow of traffic, making everyone safe. They will also file a police report which can be used later on in court. In addition, they will administer a test to check the blood alcohol level of the party responsible. This is integral in any case and will be instrumental for your dram shop lawyer.
- Collect evidence – You should try to collect pieces of evidence while you are still at the location of the DUI accident. Pieces of evidence can include taking photographs of the scene, road marks, damage to motor vehicles, injuries, and more.
- Witnesses – If you are physically able, you should collect as much information from any potential witnesses immediately. The more information you get from them the better. An address, phone number, email, and a small statement will help you later down the line when your attorney needs to contact them.
- Go to the hospital — Even if you do not need medical attention at the scene of the accident, you should make it your main priority once you leave the scene, to get to the nearest hospital for a checkup. This serves multiple purposes. They may pick up on any injuries internally, that you or the paramedics missed. It will also serve as your first case of recorded medical attention. Make sure your keep hold of all of your medical bills as they will be instrumental in seeking compensation for your medical damages.
- Notify your insurance company – You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible if you have been involved in an accident. Keep the details simple and brief and ask them to converse with your attorney going forward. This protects you from saying something that may be used against you.
- Hire a DUI accident lawyer – As soon as you have addressed your health, the most important thing you need to do is to get in touch with a team of Houston dram shop lawyers. They can take over the liaising with other parties, begin investigating on your behalf, and will use their knowledge of the law in Texas and previous dram shop cases to begin the process of your claim.
Dram Shop Injuries
Drunk drivers cause some of the most severe accidents on the roads. When you are under the influence of alcohol, your reaction times are slowed, which means that you might not brake as quickly as a sober driver. The result is a much higher speed, higher impact collision with the potential for serious injury and tragically, the wrongful death of an innocent party.
This means that the injuries that we see in dram shop liability cases are often on the more severe end of the scale.
Who Can Claim in a Dram Shop Liability Case?
If any premise that serves alcohol overserves a customer and that customer goes on to be the drunk driver in a DUI accident, anyone injured in that accident has the right to seek compensation through a dram shop lawsuit.
- Other drivers.
- Passengers in either car.
- The family of anyone killed.
- In rare cases, the intoxicated driver themselves.
When is a Bar or Restaurant Liable for Overserving Alcohol to an Intoxicated Person in Texas?
The Texas Dram Shop Act states that any sellers of alcohol must not serve alcohol to a customer who is obviously already intoxicated. Under these guidelines, a seller of alcohol is responsible for overserving a client under the following conditions:
- It is obvious that the customer was intoxicated to the level that they could have been a danger to themselves or others.
- The intoxicated individual went on to cause the damages.
What Is the Average Settlement for Dram Shop Claims in Houston, TX?
The compensation that can be awarded as a result of an accident can vary massively depending on a range of different factors:
- The severity of the injuries.
- How costly medical bills are.
- The past and potential future medical expenses.
- The fault.
- The age of the injured victim.
- How much the accident has impacted your day-to-day life.
All of the above factors can either be quantified with physical costs, like medical bills and damages to property, or graded on a scale if they do not have a cost attached.
Your attorney will look at all your physical costs, medical bills, and damages to calculate the total cost. They will then apply a multiplier to this number depending upon the severity of your pain and suffering. This will allow them to calculate a total settlement figure which they will send to the other party’s insurance companies.
The other party will either accept your settlement, decline it, or send a counter offer.
If they decline it or offer a counter-offer that you refuse, your attorney will use the case they have built (the investigation and your evidence), to take them to court. Here they will use your case to convince the court that you are deserving of the figure you are seeking.
Call a Dram Shop Attorney
Dram shop liability laws are extremely tricky and complex. If you are looking to seek compensation under the Texas Dram Shop Act, you are going to need a law firm staffed with lawyers that are skilled and knowledgeable on the subject.
Call Abraham Watkins Today!
Here at Abraham Watkins, as one of the longest-standing law firms in the entirety of Texas, we are a name you can trust. Our team has won favorable results for previous clients across numerous cases just like yours.
We have won quick settlements for clients in simple cases and we have fought long difficult battles for our clients involved in more complex situations.
We fight aggressively to protect the rights of our clients and you can rest easy knowing that we won’t give up until you get the fair and reasonable treatment that you deserve.
Remember, the more time that passes between the accident and the point where you call us for help, the harder it can be to investigate to the full extent of our ability. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can put our vast resources to work on your behalf.
If you or someone you love has been a victim of a drunk driving accident, don’t let the drunk driver, or the irresponsible venue that overserved them get away with it.
Call Abraham Watkins today and seek the compensation you deserve.
Our phone lines are manned around the clock, call us at 713-535-9319!
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