Under dram shop liability law, bars, liquor stores, and other places where alcoholic beverages are sold can be held responsible if they serve an intoxicated patron who then goes on to injure someone in an alcohol-related car accident. Forty states have enacted dram shop acts, and though they all have the same general purpose, they differ somewhat in their specifics.
The Texas Dram Shop Act, enacted June 11, 1987, is contained in Section 2.02 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. It says that “providing, selling, or serving an alcoholic beverage may be made the basis of a statutory cause of action” if two conditions are met:
- First, it must have been apparent to the provider that the person being sold the alcoholic beverage was “obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others.”
- Second, the intoxication of the customer must have been “a proximate cause of the damages suffered.”
Texas’s requirement that a bar patron be “obviously intoxicated” and “present a clear danger to himself and others” is a higher standard than in most other states’ dram shop laws, which only require “negligent service” or “willful and knowing service” of alcohol to an intoxicated person. Additionally, the Texas Supreme Court has also interpreted the law as requiring the dram shop to be more than 50 percent responsible for the accident to be found liable.
Still, if you have been injured by a drunk driver, an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney will seek to recover damages from all available sources, which may include the bar or liquor store who served the driver. To find out if dram shop liability is an issue in your case, please contact Dean Malone at (214) 670-9989 or fill out the contact form on this page.
- Guest Contributor