Victims injured in drunk driving accidents have every right to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver. This is because driving while intoxicated is an illegal and negligent act that any reasonable person knows will put others at risk of being harmed. While most people are aware that drunk drivers can be held liable for the damages they cause victims, not many realize that other parties which may have played a role in drunk driving accidents, or other accidents caused by intoxicated persons, may also be held liable for contributing to a victims’ harm. The ability to sue other parties in connection to alcohol-related accidents involve dram shop liability laws.
Dram shop liability refers to laws that hold bars and other drinking establishments liable for injuries that result from the negligent serving of alcohol. This means that victims who suffer injuries caused by an intoxicated person who was over-served by a drinking establishment may have the ability to hold the drinking establishment accountable for contributing to the cause of the accident.
Dram shop liability is a unique legal concept, and it can pose challenges during the personal injury claim process. With the help of our experienced Waco personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Vic Feazell, P.C., you can benefit from award-winning representation that understands how to address all necessary legal elements in proving dram shop liability and maximizing compensation for victims.
Under Texas’ dram shop liability laws, which are contained in the state’s Alcohol Beverage Code, there are two ways a drinking establishment can be held liable in connection to alcohol-related accidents and injuries. These include:
- Over-Serving – Drinking establishments can be held liable for damages of victims harmed by intoxicated patrons when they provide alcohol to a person who is obviously intoxicated. In order to file an effective claim, victims will need to demonstrate that a drinking establishment over-served a patron even though they knew, or should have known, that the patron was obviously intoxicated and that furnishing them with more alcohol would result in them being a danger to themselves or to others.
- Serving a Minor – Texas drinking establishments are prohibited from serving alcohol to minors. If they provide alcohol to a minor under the age of 18 who later causes injuries to another, drinking establishments can be held liable for at least a portion of victims’ damages. Texas law also permits minors who were served alcohol to sue businesses when they are injured as a result of their intoxication.
Both of these situations involve drinking establishments that negligently serve alcohol to customers, particularly when they knew that intoxication was a proximate cause for injuries – meaning that they knew, or should have known, serving an intoxicated person or a minor would make them a danger to themselves or others. As a result, Texas law says they can be held liable for damages these negligently served patrons cause to others.
The most common example of dram shop liability in action involves drunk driving accidents caused by motorists who were over-served at a drinking establishment. When these over-served motorists cause accidents that injure others, victims can pursue compensation from the driver and the drinking establishment that over served the driver, provided they clearly establish elements of dram shop liability. Although drunk driving accidents are common examples of cases where dram shop liability may apply, any incident involving a negligently served patron who injures another could be grounds for a dram shop liability action. These can include incidents involving assaults, accidents involving an intoxicated person who unknowingly pushes someone, pranks that end up causing injuries, and other situations.
It is important to note that while a drinking establishment can be held liable for victims’ damages when they negligently serve the person who caused the victim harm, it does not mean that they will be held liable for all of the victim’s damages. Generally, a drinking establishment will be held liable in accordance to their percentage of fault, or how much they contributed to an accident in related to the intoxicated person.
If you have questions regarding dram shop liability, drunk driving accidents, or other alcohol-related accidents, do not hesitate to reach out for the compassionate and caring support you deserve. The Law Offices of Vic Feazell, P.C. is readily available to take your call and provide you with a free consultation. Contact our firm today.