In the state of Texas, if your business is licensed to sell alcohol on the property, for consumption on that property, they are classified as a “dram shop”.
This means that by serving alcoholic beverages to your customers, you have a duty of care to all of the customers you serve alcohol to.
Texas has specific dram shop laws. These laws state that if a premises knowingly serves alcohol to a person who is already obviously intoxicated and this person is then the responsible party in a car accident that causes injury to another person, the victims are entitled to raise a dram shop claim against the premise for their negligence.
DUI accidents involving intoxicated drivers cause numerous and serious injuries as well as tragic fatalities every single year. Drunken patrons that are allowed to get into their car and drive home after being served too much alcohol are not only committing a DUI, they are also drastically increasing their chances of causing a fatality or injury that can ruin the quality of someone’s life, and that of their families, forever.
If you have been on the receiving end of an accident caused by a drunken driver, you are entitled to seek compensation for your damages under Sugar Land and Texas dram shop laws. Especially if they were over-served alcohol by a venue and allowed to enter their vehicle.
At Abraham Watkins, we are one of the longest-serving law firms in the entirety of Texas and have been dealing with personal injury cases just like yours since 1951. We have won numerous cases, obtained favorable results, and won fair and reasonable compensation for a long list of clients in the same circumstances as you.
We make sure that our phone lines are always manned, every hour of the day, every day of the week. This means you can always reach us, so give us a call at 713-535-9319 and get some immediate help to arrange a free initial consultation!
Texas Dram Shop Liability
Dram shop liability refers to the legal responsibility that any venue selling alcohol has for its customers drinking on the premises. If a customer is already obviously intoxicated, it is the responsibility of the venue to refuse them service.
Dram shop law is named after a “dram” which is a single measure of alcohol. The law is laid out in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
These laws have been introduced as a way to fight the rising numbers of DUI incidents that result in wrongful death or serious injury to innocent victims on the road.
If you have received injuries in an accident, someone you love has received injuries, or worse, has been killed by a drunken driver, you are entitled to seek compensation from the venue that overserved them under Sugar Land dram shop law.
Do I Have Grounds for a Dram Shop Case?
If you want to raise a dram shop case in Sugar Land, TX, you will need to prove that the person who caused your injuries and damages in the drunk driving accident, was overserved alcohol at a venue that is governed by Texas dram shop laws. You will need to prove they were served alcohol while they were obviously intoxicated.
If this person was over served alcohol and was allowed to leave the premises and enter their car without anyone stopping them and they then caused an accident, the venue is liable.
Dram shop laws are complex and will require a skilled and reputable attorney. If you are at the scene of the accident, you need to make sure you call the police immediately and do not leave the scene of the accident.
If there are any injuries, call the emergency services and ambulance team first. The police will also be able to conduct a blood alcohol test. The results of this test could be instrumental in winning your case. Once you have done this, your third call should be to a dram shop lawyer. They will advise you what to do, what to say and how to act.
Steps You Should Take At the Scene of a DUI Accident
Drunk driving accidents tend to be a lot more catastrophic than a normal car crash on average. This is because the driver will have slowed reactions and will not act in a reasonable manner.
In the aftermath, you might be in shock or injured and this may cloud your thoughts and cause you to act erratically.
If you are at the scene of an accident involving a drunk driver, here is what you should do to protect yourself, ensure your wellbeing, and give yourself the best chance at seeking compensation later down the line.
- Never leave the scene early – You must stay on the scene of the accident caused by a drunk driver. However, if you are able, your first priority should be to move to a place of safety, away from oncoming traffic and any further danger.
- Check for injuries – Make sure you check yourself for any injuries before you move. If it is safe to do so, check the other parties involved for injuries too.
- Call the emergency services for an ambulance if there are injuries – If there have been any injuries, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem, make sure you call for an ambulance. Paramedics will be able to address any serious injuries and check everyone over for hidden issues, like head trauma and internal bleeding that can have no outward immediate symptoms. The paramedics will also file a report that can be used as unbiased evidence later on.
- Call the police – Even if there are no injuries, you should make sure you call the police immediately. They will be able to make the situation safe and the sooner you call them, the less chance the drunk driver will have to sneak away if that’s their intention. The police will test the at-fault party for their blood alcohol level and this result is one of the best pieces of evidence your personal injury law attorney will be able to use in your case. The police will also file their own police report, similar to the paramedics.
- Collect evidence – If you are in a position to, you should try and collect some evidence on the scene. This can be as simple as a sketch of the accident, a video of the crash scene, photos, license plate numbers, and car descriptions.
- Witnesses – If you can manage it, try to get the details for any witnesses. The more details you get the better, as witnesses often seem keen on the day but become hard to track down later on. Get phone numbers, names, emails, and a short statement if possible, a video or voice recording can be an effective way to do this.
- Go to the hospital – Even if you haven’t received immediate medical treatment from the paramedics on the scene, you should make your way to a hospital as soon as physically possible after your accident. They can check you for hidden injuries and this visit will be your first evidenced record of medical treatment. Also, ensure that you keep a hold of all of your medical bills as they will be instrumental in calculating your medical damages when it comes to seeking compensation.
- Notify your insurance company – We recommend notifying your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident in case you need them for medical care. Keep it brief and tell them that further correspondence should be done through your attorney.
- Hire a dram shop/DUI accident lawyer – When you have made sure that you are safe and in no immediate medical danger, get in touch with your dram shop attorney. The sooner you do so, the sooner they can spring into action, investigating on your behalf and using their knowledge and skill to begin the preparation of your case.
Injuries Caused in Dram Shop Cases
Drunken driving accidents result in a higher percentage of serious accidents. Alcohol causes a drastic reduction in motor skills and response times and also causes your judgment to be seriously impaired.
In a normal accident, a driver might slam on the brakes, or swerve out of the way, reducing the severity of the crash. In a DUI accident, the drunk driver’s negligence may mean they do not brake at all, increasing the forces involved in the accident.
Drunk driving victims have a higher chance of being severely injured, crippled, or in the worst cases, the result can be the wrongful death of the victim.
In dram shop liability cases, drunk drivers themselves also have a high chance of being severely injured or killed as a result of their own impairment.
Who Can Claim in a Dram Shop Liability Case?
If a venue that serves alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises serves alcohol to a patron who is obviously intoxicated, they can be found liable for any accidents that person goes on to cause under dram shop law.
When is a Club, Bar, or Restaurant Liable for Overserving Alcohol to an Intoxicated Person in Sugar Land?
Under the Texas Dram Shop Act, the laws state that anyone who sells alcohol on their premises for consumption must not serve an intoxicated individual more alcohol.
The guidelines state that anyone that sells alcoholic beverages is liable when:
- The customer was obviously intoxicated to a level where they could prove dangerous to others and themselves.
- The intoxicated individual went on to cause the damages..
What Is the Average Settlement for Dram Shop Claims in Sugar Land, TX?
Compensation and settlement figures that are awarded in these kinds of cases will depend upon several 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 day-to-day life.
Call a Dram Shop Attorney
If a drunk driver has caused you injury and damage, you need to seek the help of a skilled and experienced dram shop lawyer, one with extensive knowledge of the Texas Dram Shop Act. They will know how to handle the case in the best possible manner to give you the highest chance of receiving fair and reasonable compensation for your damages suffered.
Call Abraham Watkins Today!
Abraham Watkins has been serving Texas since 1951. We cover all personal injury law and as one of the longest-serving firms in the state, we are a name you can trust to handle your case.
Over our 70 years of service, we have won favorable results for a long list of clients across a wide variety of accident types and circumstances.
We are skilled at obtaining maximum compensation from complex cases by fighting aggressively and without rest and we excel at winning quick and easy settlements from more clear-cut cases, reducing the stress involved for our clients.
Personal injury cases are always time-sensitive, so make sure you get in touch with us as soon as possible in order for the highest chances of receiving the full and maximum compensation available to you. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can investigate and the fewer chances of evidence being tampered with or destroyed.
Don’t let irresponsible venues and irresponsible drunk drivers get away with it.
Call Abraham Watkins today at 713-535-9319 and seek the compensation you deserve.
Our phone lines are always manned, every hour of every day, so call us as soon as you can after your accident and let us take the burden off your shoulders.
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