Dallas Dram Shop Lawyer

You or a family member have been hit and seriously injured by a drunk driver. The medical bills are mounting up! Is there someone liable for your injuries other than the drunk driver? Where did he get drunk? Who served him so much alcohol? Are they also responsible for what happened?

What is a Dram Shop Case?

The answer to that question may well be “yes” if a bar, restaurant, or other entity, violated Texas Dram Shop laws designed to hold servers of alcohol responsible for serving intoxicated persons. If you were injured by a drunk driver under such circumstance, you have a legal right to seek compensation for all your losses and damages from these establishments.

Dram Shop cases are lawsuits brought against an “alcohol provider” if they made available alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated and who then is involved in a motor vehicle accident in which someone is injured or killed. Under such circumstances, the provider can be held legally responsible for the injuries and losses caused by the drunk driver. In Texas, liquor liability cases are governed by the Texas Dram Shop Act, Section 2 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. Almost all states have similar laws to hold alcohol providers accountable when they serve someone already drunk. The term “dram shop” is an Old-English expression for a bar or tavern where spirits were sold by the “dram,” a small amount unit of liquid.

What is an “Alcohol Provider” under Texas Dram Shop Laws?

An alcohol provider is someone who sells, serves, or otherwise provides alcohol to people. They can be either licensed to do so by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) or unlicensed. Both are treated the same. Once the person or entity starts selling and profiting from providing alcohol, the law is applied equally whether licensed or not.

What Do I Need to Prove to Hold the Provider Responsible?

Basically, there are three things that need to be proved for a successful Dram Shop case

  •  First, there needs to be proof the motor vehicle accident was the fault of a drunk driver.
  •  Second,  there needs to be proof that at time the provider sold or served the alcohol, it was apparent to the provider that the recipient (drunk driver) was obviously intoxicated to the extent that he/she presented a clear danger to themselves and others.
  • Third, there needs to be proof the intoxication of that individual foreseeably caused the accident.

It’s very important that an experienced Dallas Dram Shop lawyer be hired as soon as possible after the drunk driving auto accident so that a full investigation can begin immediately. Since the condition of the drunk driver while at the establishment and when he left is critical, quickly locating and speaking with eyewitnesses is vital.

What does “Obviously Intoxicated” Mean?

Intoxicated is obvious when a bartender or server knew (or should have known) their customer was intoxicated. This means the bartender/server needs to be on the lookout for any sign that the person is intoxicated.  The TABC requires that licensed providers of alcohol train their employees to look for signs of intoxication that include the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Overly sexual behavior
  • Outbursts of profanity
  • Violent behavior
  • Speaking loudly
  • Stumbling (or loss of balance)
  • Sleepiness
  • Vomiting/nausea
  • The quantity of alcohol consumed
  • Inability to answer simple questions

Examples of Those Who Can be Held Liable

Entities that are subject to Dram Shop Liability include the following:

  • Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Liquor Stores
  • Caterers
  • Fraternities and Sororities
  • Football stadiums
  • Rodeos
  • Fair grounds
  • Sports Stadiums and Arenas

What About “Social Hosts” Who Provide Alcohol?

You’re having a party soon and plan to serve alcoholic beverages to your guests. Can you be held legally responsible if they drink too much and cause a car wreck later? Social hosts are not considered licensed providers and therefore they are not subject to Texas Dram Shop laws. However, social hosts can be sued for an alcohol-related injury or death when they serve alcohol to a minor who is not the social host’s own child.

Compensation for Your Dram Shop Injury Case

Drunk driver injury cases and Dram Shop injury cases can cause serious injuries or death, and the damages and losses can be significant for you or your loved ones. Often, the drunk driver does not have an adequate insurance policy to cover all your losses, which makes a potential Dram Shop case even more important.  We fight hard for our clients to make sure we leave no dollar behind when it comes to any settlement or resolution. The following is a list of damages you can seek compensation for in your Dram Shop case:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental Anguish
  • Medical bills in the past and future
  • Ambulance bills
  • Therapy bills
  • Prescription bills
  • Lost wages and loss of future income
  • Mental trauma
  • Loss of ability to enjoy your life

Reach Out to a Dallas Dram Shop Lawyer

Dram Shop cases are unique and require an experienced Dram Shop lawyer to manage the complexities. Contact The Law Offices of Charlie Waters at 214-742-2223 for a free case evaluation of your Dram Shop claim or just fill out the Contact Form below and we’ll be in contact with you immediately.