Dram shop liability allows victims and their families to claim compensation from alcohol providers in Texas for the improper service of alcohol. The most common dram shop liability cases involve drunk drivers; if a drunk driver was overserved alcohol at a bar and then went on to cause an accident, then victims could be owed compensation under these laws.
Proving liability in a dram shop claim is notoriously difficult. If every alcohol provider was found liable for the incidents their patron’s cause, then they would be navigating continuous lawsuits. It is also important that intoxicated individuals themselves are held responsible for the damages they cause.
The goal of dram shop laws is to strike a balance between the responsibility of alcohol providers and intoxicated individuals themselves. Dram shop law is challenging to navigate, and it is common that a personal injury attorney won’t take on such cases.
However, at Abraham Watkins, we are proud to navigate even the most complex dram shop cases to bring justice to our clients. We believe that these laws must be enforced to make the world safer for everybody. A drunk driving accident occurs in Texas roughly every 20 minutes, and if we want to reduce that number, we must hold negligent parties accountable.
Our law firm has served Texas for over 70 years, making us one of the longest-serving law firms in the state. We offer a free case evaluation to all victims, so contact us today and speak to one of our legal team about what we can do for you.
Our phone lines are open 24/7, so call today at 713-535-9319 and arrange a free consultation with a Rosharon dram shop attorney.
The Texas Dram Shop Act
Drunk driving accidents occur far too frequently in Texas. In fact, someone is injured or killed more than 70 times each day! The main reason for dram shop liability law is to try and reduce this number.
Dram shop laws are a collection of statutes that aim to prevent the improper service of alcohol. A dram shop is a licensed establishment that provides alcohol, such as a bar, hotel, liquor store, restaurant, and more. As a licensed establishment, they have a responsibility to act in line with laws and regulations and keep people safe from harm.
The most common violation a dram shop commits is continuing to sell alcohol to obviously intoxicated patrons. For example, if someone is slurring their words and using the bar to hold themselves upright, but the bartender continues to serve alcohol to them anyway, then the bartender is acting negligently. That means that if that same customer goes on to cause damages, for example, by driving their vehicle and causing a car accident, then the bar could be held liable for the damages suffered by victims of the accident.
Dram shops must also never provide alcohol to someone under 21, regardless of their sobriety. If they do, and that customer goes on to cause an accident then they may also be found liable for damages.
The Texas Alcohol and Beverage Code provide details of dram shop and social host liability.
Claims Against Social Hosts
A social host is someone who supplies alcohol without a license, such as an individual who throws a party at their house. A social host is not liable for any incidents caused by an adult to who they serve alcohol to. However, if they serve alcohol to a minor who is not their own child, and that minor goes on to cause an incident that results in damages, then the social host may be held liable.
Who Can File a Rosharon, TX Dram Shop Lawsuit?
At Abraham Watkins, we offer a free consultation, so if you are wondering if you have a case, then call us today, and we can let you know if we believe you have a valid case.
People who might be able to claim damages under dram shop liability include:
- The family members of someone who died in a drinking-related incident, including a DUI accident.
- People were injured in a fight or attack by an intoxicated person who was served too much alcohol.
- Victims of drunk driving accidents, including pedestrians, other drivers, and passengers.
- Owners of property that was damaged by someone who had been drinking.
- In some cases, the individual who had been drinking and caused themself injury, but usually only if they are a minor.
Defenses For Dram Shop Liability
There are various defenses that a dram shop could try and use to escape liability. The most common is the Safe Harbor Defense. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) provides guidance and offers training materials that dram shops can choose to use with their staff.
If a dram shop can prove that it follows guidance from the TABC and that their staff has received the two-hour training course on alcohol awareness, then they may be able to use the Safe Harbor Defense, which basically says that the incident was a one-off occurrence and honest mistake.
Although this defense may be available, you should still seek help from an attorney who can evaluate your case and explore all options for compensation.
What Needs to be Proven For a Dram Shop to Be Held Liable For My Injuries in Rosharon, TX
Dram shop claims are based on negligence, which means to be successful, your attorney will need to prove that the dram shop acted unreasonably. Therefore, the customer who was overserved alcohol must have been obviously intoxicated at the time they were served.
For example, if someone at a restaurant is struggling to keep their eyes open and slurring their words, but their waiter serves alcohol to them anyway, then this is negligent behavior. A reasonable person with a license to serve alcohol would not have continued to provide alcohol to someone who was acting in this way.
When a dram shop serves alcohol to a minor, then this is always negligent; there is no need to prove that they were obviously intoxicated.
Next, you must prove that their negligence directly caused your injuries. For example, if the intoxicated person left the restaurant, got into their car, and caused a DUI accident, leaving you with serious injuries, then that is a clear correlation.
Rosenberg Dram Shop Lawyer, FAQ
How can I prove that someone was overserved alcohol?
It can be difficult to prove that someone was overserved alcohol in a dram shop. However, an attorney may use CCTV footage, witness testimony, a toxicology report, and evidence of the establishment’s previous practices as evidence for your claim.
How long do I have to make a dram shop claim?
In Texas, you have two years from the date of the incident to make a dram shop claim. This is known as the statute of limitations, and once this time has passed, you will lose your right to claim compensation. While this might sound like a long time, the sooner you contact an attorney, the better, as they will be able to preserve important evidence in your case and ensure a strong claim that is likely to result in compensation.
How much is my dram shop claim worth?
Each case is unique, so it is difficult to say how much your claim will be worth. However, in a successful dram shop liability claim, you will be able to claim your medical expenses past and future, any lost wages and lost earning potential, property damage, and compensation for your pain and suffering, such as your mental anguish, physical pain, and the impact the incident has had on your life.
The value of non-economic damages such as pain and suffering are difficult to quantify, but a skilled attorney will fight for your right to fair compensation that reflects the impact on your life.
Who is the 3rd party who is liable in a dram shop lawsuit?
In a dram shop case, instead of claiming damages from the person who directly caused them (such as the drunk driver), you are claiming against a third party who contributed to the accident (such as a bar).
How long do dram shop cases take?
Some dram shop cases take just a few months, and others two years or even longer for particularly complex cases. At Abraham Watkins, we pride ourselves on being able to reach a quick and fair settlement where possible, but we are also willing to go the distance and will fight tirelessly to secure what you deserve.
Contact a Rosharon, TX Dram Shop Lawyer Today
Dram shop claims are complex, and you need representation from a personal injury lawyer who is willing to do everything possible to protect your right to compensation.
Serving Texas for more than 70 years, Abraham Watkins is uniquely prepared to handle your case. We have experience in dram shop liability and a proven track record of success. Our law firm has been awarded several local, state, and national award, such as ‘Best Law Firms 2022’ by U.S News. All of our partners are board certified, and our whole team has a stellar reputation.Call today and arrange a free consultation with an experienced dram shop attorney at 713-535-9319!
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