After a night out on the town, the person driving at the end of the night is responsible for making sure they are not too drunk to drive. However, in Texas and many other states, dram shop laws hold alcohol-serving establishments, such as restaurants and bars, responsible for any accidents or injuries that occur as a result of over-serving the person who caused the harm. The Austin dram shop lawyers at DC Law have helped many victims of drunk driving and other alcohol-related accidents get the compensation they deserve from businesses that knowingly over-served the person who caused the victim harm.
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Texas Dram Shop Law
The Texas Dram Shop Act holds an establishment liable for injuries that result from the over-consumption of alcohol to a patron who is already intoxicated. The provider of the alcohol can be held liable for damages if the following elements are true:
- The person was obviously intoxicated to the extent that they clearly posed a danger to themselves or others at the time the establishment sold them more alcohol; and
- The over-serving of alcohol was the direct and proximate cause of the damages sustained.
While most people associate the Dram Shop Act with impaired driving crashes, businesses that over-serve patrons can also be held liable for other types of accidents. This includes slip and falls, pedestrian accidents, or injuries that result from a bar fight. Any time there is an injury caused by a business over-serving alcohol, they may be found partially liable for the damages that result. It is important to note that dram shop laws don’t completely remove accountability on the part of the person responsible for the harm, but they apportion liability for their part in the accident and allow the person who was over-served to collect from the establishment accordingly.
What Does it Mean to be “Clearly Intoxicated?”
Under dram shop laws, an over-served person must have been clearly or obviously intoxicated at the time that the establishment continued to provide them with alcohol. This does not necessarily mean that the person was above or below the legal limit to drive at 0.08% BAC. Although people do process alcohol differently, common signs of clear or obvious intoxication typically include:
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty finishing thoughts
- Glassy or bloodshot eyes
- Stumbling and falling
- Impaired motor skills
- Lack of coordination
- Slowed reaction time
- Impaired judgment
In dram shop cases, security footage, witness statements, and receipts can go a long way in proving that a person was clearly intoxicated when they were over-served.
If you were injured in an accident because a business over-served a patron, there may be a case under the Texas dram shop laws. At DC Law, our attorneys have helped victims collect under the state’s dram shop laws when establishments have over-served their customers. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with an Austin dram shop lawyer.