A “dram shop” is a definition given to any venue that serves alcohol on the premises, specifically for drinking and consumption on that premise. A “dram” is a single measure of alcohol and is the reason why the term dram shop was coined.
In Cypress, Texas, if you serve alcohol to your customers on your premise, then you have a duty of care for them. This means you have a legal responsibility to act in a reasonable way.
In Texas, this means you should not serve alcohol to any visibly intoxicated patrons. If you do serve a visibly intoxicated person, and you allow them to leave the premises and enter their vehicle, you could be held liable for their actions afterward.
If the patron is allowed to enter their vehicle and then causes a drunk driving accident where people are injured or worse, killed, the victims and their families are entitled to seek the help of a law firm and raise a dram shop lawsuit against the venue under personal injury trial law.
The Texas Board that deals with dram shop liability laws and regulations introduced these laws in order to reduce the number of rising DUI-related fatalities across the state. When a driver is allowed to enter their vehicle when visibly intoxicated, they are not only committing a DUI crime, but they are also severely increasing their chance of causing a fatality that may change the life of the victim forever.
If you or somebody you love has been injured or killed in an accident where the culprit was a drunken driver, you should contact a dram shop liability law firm immediately. In this situation, you are fully entitled to seek compensation for your damages, both physical and medical, as well as the pain and suffering the accident has caused you.
Here at Abraham Watkins, our national trial lawyers have been serving the state of Texas since 1951. This means we have unparalleled knowledge of the complexities of personal injury trial law that covers Cypress, Texas.
Since 1951, our list of happy clients has become a long one, with numerous wins and favorable outcomes under our belt, you can put your trust in us when it comes to dealing with your personal injury case.
For a free consultation, give us a call today at 713-535-9319. Our phone lines are always manned so that we can receive your call at every hour of the day, every day of the week.
We can offer advice and get you booked in with one of our skilled national trial lawyers immediately for a free case evaluation.
Texas Dram Shop Liability
Texas dram shop liability states that the venue and the employers have a legal duty of care to their customers if they serve alcohol for consumption on their premises. This means they can be held liable if they are found negligent.
Therefore, if one of their bartenders serves alcohol to obviously intoxicated customers, and they knowingly allow them to leave and enter their vehicles, the venue and the employers could be held liable if there is a drunk driving accident.
How Do I Know if I Have Grounds for a Dram Shop Case?
To raise a dram shop claim in Cypress , Texas, you and your attorneys will have to prove negligence and assign liability. To do this you will need proof that the party responsible for your damages and injuries was drunk at the time and overserved alcohol when visibly intoxicated.
If the responsible party was overserved and was not stopped from getting into their car by the venue, the venue could be held liable for any personal injury or wrongful death caused by a drunk driving accident.
In cases like this, it can be difficult to assign dram shop liability, and navigating the complex dram shop laws that govern Texas will require a skilled hand and good evidence.
Steps To Should At the Scene of a Dram Shop Accident
When under the influence of alcohol, the body’s response times are dulled and slowed and the judgment calls the driver may make will be skewed and clouded.
This means that when a hazard appears on the road, they will not respond as effectively and rationally as a sober individual would; they may not slam the brakes on as quickly, they may not even apply the brakes at all.
A sober driver may swerve to avoid a hazard, lowering the chances of a collision, but a drunken driver may not even notice the hazard at all.
This equates to accidents that involve higher impact speeds, more head-on collisions, and overall, a much higher chance of a fatality or serious injury to the victim.
When you have been involved in a drunk driving accident, there are certain steps you should try to take to ensure your safety and the chances of a successful claim against the guilty party.
- Never leave the scene early – You must stay on the scene of an accident and call and wait for the police and emergency services. You should, however, ensure that you move to a place of safety if you are able to. Ensure you move away from any oncoming traffic and danger.
- Check for injuries – Check yourself over for any injuries, if you have hit your head or neck hard, avoid moving until the paramedics turn up to avoid further damage. If you are able, check others for injuries quickly so you can inform the ambulance team when you ring them.
- Call the emergency services for an ambulance – We always recommend calling for an ambulance following a car crash involving a drunk driver. The ambulance team will be able to check everyone over for both external and internal injuries. Remember, internal bleeding injuries may have no outward symptoms but can cause fatalities if not treated and identified early enough. The ambulance team will also compile an accident report which is a clear unbiased piece of evidence your attorney may obtain later.
- Call the police – Perhaps the most instrumental thing you can do when you are involved in a drunk driving accident is to call the police to the scene. You should do this after any car accident involving injuries, as they will make the scene safe for everyone, but it is especially important if the other party is drunk. They will administer a blood alcohol test which is perhaps the most important piece of evidence in any dram shop liability case. The police will also file their own report which can be used later on.
- Collect evidence – The more evidence you can collect immediately on the scene the easier it will be for your attorney later on. Take a video of the entire scene, making sure you get a clear image of the cars involved, the roads, any injuries, and anything else relevant.
- Witnesses – If you are able to, try to get any details you can for the witnesses who saw the accident. Email addresses, phone numbers, names, and addresses are all great. If you could get a small statement from them too that would also be very helpful.
- Go to the hospital – Even if you have not received medical attention on the scene, it is important that you still get checked over at your local hospital. They will be able to ensure you have no hidden injuries and will give you a clear date of the first time you received medical attention. If you go on to need more medical attention, this will give your attorney a good timeline to use as evidence. Make sure you keep a note of all receipts and costs.
- Hire a dram shop/DUI accident lawyer – As soon as you have made sure that you are not in any immediate health danger, it is the perfect time to get in touch with your attorney if you have not already. The sooner you get in touch the sooner they can get started with investigating and building your case.
Who Can Claim in a Dram Shop Liability Case?
Under dram shop liability, anyone who believes a venue has overserved a patron when they were obviously intoxicated, has the right to raise a claim against that venue.
When is a Club, Bar, or Restaurant Liable for Overserving Alcohol to an Intoxicated Person in Sugar Land?
The Texas Dram Shop Act, states that all venues licensed to serve alcohol on their premises must not serve obviously intoxicated patrons.
The guidelines state that anyone that sells alcoholic beverages is liable when:
- The customer was clearly intoxicated to a level where they could prove dangerous to themselves and others.
- The intoxicated individual went on to cause damages.
What is the Safe Harbor Defense to Dram Shop Liability?
For employers and venue owners, there is a defense that may be used in order to reduce liability in cases like this. That defense is called the Safe Harbor Defense and can be used by any dram shop under the right conditions.
To use this defense the dram shop must be able to prove that they have given their bartenders the two-hour training course designed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to improve awareness and educate bartenders.
This training isn’t compulsory to be a bartender in Cypress but is recommended and proof it has been completed by employees is a requirement if they want to use the Safe Harbor Defense in a liability case.
The second requirement is that there was no coercion by the employer to the employee to overserve an obviously intoxicated individual. If a manager told the bartender they were allowed to serve the individual when they shouldn’t have, they will not be able to use the Safe Harbour Defense.
Details for this defense can be found under 106.14 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
What Is the Average Settlement for Dram Shop Claims in Houston, TX?
Personal injury cases are complex. The settlement figure that any individual may seek will depend upon a wide variety of factors, including:
- How costly medical bills are.
- The past and potential future medical expenses.
- The fault.
- The severity of the injuries.
- The age of the injured victim.
- How much the accident has impacted your day-to-day life.
Call a Dram Shop Attorney ASAP!
If you or someone you love has received injury or damages due to a drunk driving accident in Cypress, Texas, or worse, someone you love has tragically lost their life, we highly recommend seeking the aid of a skilled personal injury lawyer.
They will know the complex laws and how to put together a settlement figure and a case that is hard to argue against in the settlement stage or later on in court.
Remember, personal injury cases get harder to win the longer you leave it between the accident and calling your attorney. The sooner you call them, the sooner they can secure evidence like receipts and CCTV footage before it is erased.
Call Abraham Watkins Today!
Abraham Watkins has been operating in the state of Texas for nearly 75 years. As a personal injury law firm, we pride ourselves on our attorney-client relationship.
We know personal injury law in the state of Texas like the back of our hand and have dealt with many different types of personal injury cases. We have won quick and easy settlement figures for clients in clear-cut cases and have fought tooth and nail to win lawsuits in the more complex cases.
We ensure that our phone line is always manned. This means we are here, whenever you need us, around the clock.Don’t let drunken drivers and irresponsible venues get away with causing irresponsible accidents, seek justice and compensation by calling today at 713-535-9319!
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