A “dram shop” is technically any establishment in which alcoholic beverages are consumed and/or sold. Some examples of this would be a restaurant or a bar. A dram shop law/act holds the establishment liable for any injuries that resulted from someone who has consumed alcohol at the establishment.  For example, if the person is drinking at a restaurant and is injured during a driving accident after leaving the establishment.

In order for the establishment to be held liable under a dram shop law/act, it must be proven that the location sold alcohol to a person that was visibly or obviously intoxicated, or to the point of obvious intoxication, and that the serving of alcohol was the specific cause of the person’s injuries. An establishment can call a taxi cab for an intoxicated person, if need be, which can help take liability off of them. Dram shop laws may also cover selling alcohol to minors who are intoxicated.   How to Spot a Drunk Driver

Dram Shop Law in Texas

Texas Dram Shop Act is in the Alcoholic Beverage Code, which holds any establishment liable for selling or serving alcohol to any persons who are visibly or obviously intoxicated. The person suing the bar or restaurant must be able to prove that they were obviously intoxicated when they were sold the alcoholic beverage. Minors are also able to sue business establishes for any injuries they incurred from the sale of alcohol. Minors may only do this if they were intoxicated when they were sold the alcoholic beverages, and their injuries came as a direct result from this consumption.

Recent Texas case law has interpreted Dram Shop Acts in a different light about the amount of liability that businesses may be sued for. In Texas, alcohol selling establishments, who are licensed, may only be held liable for the portion of the responsibility that a jury will assign to it. The driver will be held liable for the portion of injury that they themselves may have caused by consuming alcohol and then driving. Texas takes DWI’s very seriously, and it is clear that they believe that not only the restaurant/bar is at fault. If the driver chooses to get behind the wheel of a car, they must take some responsibility for their actions. The percentage of liability is calculated using a variety of factors and procedures, including: whether or not other people were injured in the accident.

In Texas the “Dram Shop” will only be a potential source of recovery for injured plaintiffs, and there is no guarantee that the shop will be held entirely liable, or liable at all depending on the circumstances. Dram shop owners are not automatically liable for injuries by a patron sustained as a result of their serving alcohol.

Hiring An Experienced Attorney

Whether you are the injured person, a family member or loved one is the injured person, or you are a dram shop operator, it is important that you hire an experienced attorney if you are involved in a dram shop claim.  These claims can be complicated and with the help of an attorney, you may be able to successfully obtain compensation or refute a dram shop law claim. If you have any questions about Texas Dram Shop laws, please do not hesitate to contact us, at the Law Offices of W.T. Johnson.

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