If you are injured in a crash with a drunk driver, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against them. In some cases, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the establishment that overserved them as well. These cases are often referred to as “Dram Shop” claims here in Texas.
What is Required to Prove in a Dram Shop Lawsuit?
While some bars and clubs knowingly overserve patrons all the time, it can be challenging to prove– which is why you need a personal injury attorney. Fortunately, experienced Dallas car accident lawyers know which steps to take to properly investigate and prove your case. There are two key elements you need to prove in a dram shop liability claim:
- The staff at the establishment, a licensed provider of alcohol, either knew or reasonably should have known that the patron was intoxicated to the point that they presented a clear danger to themselves or others yet continued to serve the patron anyway.
- The driver’s drunkenness was the proximate cause of your accident.
Different Methods That Can Prove the Patron Was Drunk
It is usually obvious that a patron is intoxicated– they may have trouble walking, they may fall asleep, they may be belligerent, or spilling their drinks. Also, their eyes may be glassy or bloodshot, or they are slurring their speech. Perhaps the staff may have observed that they were drinking a significant amount of alcohol. Sometimes another patron will even pull the bar staff to the side and warn them.
If you can prove that any of these things happened, yet the staff continued to serve the individual, then you might have a good case. To investigate, your attorney may review the drunk driver’s receipts from the bar, view security camera footage, or even read social media posts by the intoxicated driver. Your lawyer may ask for eyewitness testimony or request copies of blood-alcohol tests that were later conducted.
When the Bar May Not be Liable
However, there may be some situations where the staff unknowingly overserves a patron. That individual may have driven to the bar sober, but in the parking lot, drank four shots before going inside. Between then and their first drink, it is unlikely that the patron would have displayed any signs of intoxication. In this example, the staff may not be held liable for a dram shop claim.
The Drunk Driver’s Intoxication Must Have Caused Your Crash
The next step is to prove that the driver’s intoxication caused the accident. This may be relatively easy to prove in some cases but more complicated in others. If the drunk driver ran a red light or was speeding at the time of the crash, then their drunkenness could easily be linked to your accident. However, if that same driver was stopped at a red light directly behind you– and gets rear-ended, causing their car to hit you—it’s unlikely that a Dallas car accident attorney could prove that their intoxication caused your accident.
A Firm That Fights for Your Rights
Our Dallas car accident lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP have been a staple in the Dallas legal community for over a quarter-century. We have earned more than $110 million on behalf of our valued clients in jury verdicts and settlements. We combine our knowledge, compassion, and experience to advocate for our clients. In one dram shop liability case, we reached a settlement with the bar for $2.25 Million on behalf of our injured client.
Contact us for a free consultation
If you have questions about a liability claim, call us at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP today to arrange your free case review with a Dallas dram shop lawyer. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not owe us anything unless you win.