Now that bars and restaurants are re-opening to full capacity in the wake of Covid-19, we in Texas need to be particularly mindful of drunk drivers. Yes, they are out there every day and night, on roads and highways everywhere in Texas. It is common sense that drinking to excess and driving is wrong and deadly. While those who drink, drive and kill or injure no doubt are to blame, they often either have no insurance or not enough insurance. And, more importantly, there is usually plenty of blame to allocate to any bar or restaurant that over-serves the drunk driver.
Not just blame, but liability.
What is Dram Shop Liability?
Like many states, Texas has what’s called a “dram shop” law that allows alcoholic beverage providers (e.g. usually bars or restaurants) to be liable in money damages for injury or death caused by people they’ve overserved. In essence, if a bar or restaurant serves even one alcoholic beverage to a person that it knows or should know is already “obviously intoxicated,” then the bar or restaurant can be liable if the same person later injures or kills someone in, for example, an auto accident.
There are many ways to prove the server either knew or should have known the drunk driver was “obviously intoxicated” at the time served. Interior security video or police body-cam footage can show behavior and body action that is supportive of obvious intoxication. Drink or credit card receipts from the bar or restaurant will reveal the number and types of drinks sold, and when they were sold. Scientific toxicology reports based on blood samples and interpretation by toxicology experts can also yield evidence of obvious intoxication. Testimony from others at the bar that witnesses the service and behavior likewise can prove obvious intoxication.
Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP Can Help Hold Them Responsible
The bottom line is that if either you, a loved one, or friend has been severely injured or killed by a drunk driver that has no insurance, or very little insurance, do not give up! If the drunk was served alcohol at a Texas bar or restaurant (the police will usually know that), the bar or restaurant likely has liquor-liability insurance – perhaps quite a lot of it. It’s then worth immediately calling the Texas dram shop lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP for a free consultation.
We have recovered millions in damages under Texas’s dram shop laws for victims of drunk drivers, and would be honored to analyze and investigate any case you bring us. It is important to act quickly, however. It’s far better to retain counsel soon after one of these incidents occurs so that measures can be taken to preserve evidence of obvious intoxication such as security videos and/or drink/credit card receipts.