Texans love a good drink or two, making the state’s many dram shops a place of fun and revelry for most. However, in order to keep everyone safe, Texas expects the owners of these venues to keep an eye on their customers to ensure they are not served more alcohol than is sensible. If a customer is visibly intoxicated, it is the responsibility of the dram shop and its employees to refuse service.
In Magnolia, TX, dram shop laws are in place to help curb the number of drunk driving accidents. There are three car accidents involving a driver who is under the influence every single hour across the state. This is a worrying statistic.
When a dram shop allows a customer to drink past the point that is deemed sensible, and they are allowed to leave the venue and enter their vehicle without challenge, the results can be catastrophic. Dram shops and the employees that work there have a duty of care to their customers and when they allow this to happen, it is negligent behavior and is a breach of the duty of care.
Every single day as personal injury lawyers, we see victims that have suffered life-changing injuries and families who have lost a loved one forever as the result of drunk driving accidents. When a driver is intoxicated behind the wheel of their car, they not only endanger themselves, but the potential to cause an accident that involves an innocent victim is drastically increased.
You should not have to suffer from the grossly negligent actions of a drunk driver and the venue that overserved them and if you have been involved in a drunk driving accident, you should get in touch with our team here at Abraham Watkins.
We will be able to investigate the venue on your behalf, and if we find they were in some way responsible for your injuries, we can help you recover your damages and seek compensation for your pain and suffering.
These accidents have the potential to be extremely traumatic and having witnessed the suffering of our clients firsthand, we know what you are going through.
Our goal is to offer reliable representation to any victim. We offer a free consultation and case evaluation, and we work on a contingency-fee-basis. This allows us to provide immediate help, without the worry of up-front fees. We are confident we can help you secure compensation for your injuries and if we can’t, you won’t pay a penny to us.
Texas Dram Shop Law Explained
Texas dram shop law and dram shop liability refer to the legal responsibility placed upon the many Texas dram shops across the state. If a bar, restaurant, club, or other venue, sells alcoholic beverages for consumption on the property, they have a responsibility and duty of care to their customers.
This responsibility means that they should refuse service when a customer is quite clearly intoxicated.
If they serve a patron that clearly should not be served, this is negligent behavior.
Negligent behavior, defined, is:
“A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one’s previous conduct). “
In simple terms, a venue and its employees behave negligently if they engage in actions that are different from what another venue and its employees would do in the same circumstances. If we find that they served alcohol to a customer, whereas any reasonable bartender would have refused them service, they have acted negligently.
Do I Have a Dram Shop Case in Magnolia TX?
Your best option if you are unsure of whether your case involved negligent behavior is to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer that has experience in dram shop laws and liability cases for a free consultation.
A Texas dram shop lawyer will have experience in dealing with cases just like yours and be able to advise you and answer all of your questions.
What to Do After a DUI Accident in Magnolia, TX
If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident, there are certain things you can do on the scene to ensure you have the best chances of recovering your damages and to avoid admitting liability:
Stay on the Scene
Remember to stay on the scene, otherwise the at-fault party may leave and you may never see them again. If you remain on the scene, they are more likely to stay and you will be able to collect more evidence.
Is Anyone Injured?
If the accident resulted in you hitting your head or hurting your spine, you should remain still and avoid moving as much as possible. These kinds of injuries can be aggravated easily. If someone tries to move you, tell them you suspect you have a neck or head injury and to call an ambulance immediately.
If you are certain you have not received a head or neck injury, you should check yourself and the others involved for injuries so that you can inform the ambulance team when you call for them.
Call an Ambulance
If there are any injuries whatsoever, you need to call an ambulance. Even if the injuries are minor or seem minor, there may be hidden injuries. Internal bleeding can have no outward symptoms but can prove fatal if not handled by a medical professional.
The ambulance team will turn up and ensure that anyone who needs medical attention receives it. They will also check anyone who believes they have not been injured for hidden injuries.
Finally, they will file a report that can be used as unbiased evidence by your attorney later on down the line.
Call for Police Assistance
Following any traffic or car accident, it is usually smart to call for police assistance. Following a drunk driving accident, it is a necessity. Drunk driving is a crime and drunken drivers can sometimes be violent.
Calling the police will ensure that the traffic is diverted correctly, that everyone is safe from the drunk individual and, most importantly, they will administer a blood alcohol test. This is crucial evidence.
You will massively help your personal injury lawyers if you can provide them with as much evidence as possible. If your injuries allow it, some quick photos and a video of the scene can go a long way.
You should also try to collect all the personal details of any eye-witnesses and a short statement that they can confirm later on down the line. Eye-witnesses are more reliable the closer to the accident and if they only have to confirm a statement they have already given, they are less likely to become unreliable when your attorney emails or calls them to corroborate your story.
Go to the Hospital
Remember, injuries can lie hidden, so even if you did not receive any medical attention on the scene, you should still seek a checkup from a doctor. They will be able to ensure you have not missed anything due to the shock of the accident and will provide a starting point for your medical attention timeline.
Notify Your Insurance Company
You will need to tell your insurance company that there has been an accident as they may have to be involved with your medical care.
When you speak to them, keep it brief and avoid saying anything that may be seen as an admission of fault in any way.
Hire a Magnolia, TX Dram Shop Lawyer
Personal injury cases are always easier to win if you employ representation at the earliest possible point. They will be able to investigate the venue immediately and will be able to begin building your case.
Once you have obtained legal representation, your dram shop attorneys will be able to take over all liaising with insurance companies, investigations and will ensure your paperwork is filed on time and correctly. They will also be able to begin calculating your damages, ready for a settlement offer.
Alcohol’s Effect On Driving Ability
Driving whilst under the influence of alcohol is a terrible decision. Alcohol reduces your ability to react on time, makes it more likely that you engage in dangerous behavior, and impairs your judgment.
This means that drunk driving accidents often come with more severe injuries than a normal car accident. Drunk drivers do not brake on time, do not spot hazards, and may fall asleep at the wheel.
When is a Venue Liable for Overserving Alcohol to an Intoxicated Person in Texas?
The responsibility that the Texas Dram Shop Act places on venues states that the venue may be liable if:
- It is clear 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.
The Safe Harbor Defense to Dram Shop Liability
As an employer, you do have a defense that you can use in order to reduce your liability. This defense is known as the Safe Harbor Defense and requires certain steps to be taken in order for it to be used:
- Employers must show and prove that they have given a special 2-hour course designed to train bartenders on the dangers of overserving alcohol.
- The defense cannot be used if it is found that the employer encouraged their bartender to serve the patron when they were planning to refuse service.
To learn more about this defense check section 106.14 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
What Is the Average Settlement for Dram Shop Claims in Magnolia, TX?
There are a number of different circumstances and variables that can influence how much settlement will be on offer following drunk driving personal injury cases. Every case we deal with here at Abraham Watkins is unique in this regard.
In each and every case, the victim will have suffered varying levels of damages and this will affect the overall compensation sum.
What Damages Can I Recover?
To begin with, your attorney will want to look at all the economic damages that you have suffered. Economic damages are easy to calculate as they have a physical price tag attached to them. You can add all of your medical bills up, for example, as well as any property damages you have suffered.
The next step will be to consider how much your non-economic damages are worth. These damages do not have a physical price tag attached and are more difficult to calculate. Your attorney will have to use their experience in past cases and skill as a personal injury lawyer to decide what is a fair and reasonable sum for these.
Your non-economic damages are designed to cover things like your emotional distress and pain and suffering.
These two sums will make up your settlement offer sum and this will be sent over to the at-fault insurance company. If they accept, you will receive your settlement and the case will be over.
If they decline or counteroffer with a sum you are not happy with, your attorney will use the case they have built for you in order to convince the courts that you are in fact deserving of what you are seeking.
Call a Magnolia Dram Shop Attorney – Call Abraham Watkins Today!
Here at Abraham Watkins, we have served the state of Texas since 1961. Our attorneys value the attorney-client relationship above all else. We take the time to listen compassionately to our clients and keep them informed and educated at every step of the case.
We have a long history of victories under our belt. We have won favorable outcomes for numerous clients following drunk driving accidents and our knowledge of Texas dram shop law is impeccable.To speak to one of Texas’s longest-serving law firms, arrange a free consultation today by calling 713-535-9319.
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