What Are the Elements of a Dram Shop Case?

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Understanding Your Rights Under the Texas Dram Shop Act

Texas law imposes liability on a bar, restaurant, or another licensed provider of alcohol if they over-serve a patron and that patron causes an accident. Often referred to as a dram shop law, it can be difficult to prove liability without the help of an experienced attorney.

At Fibich, Leebron, Copeland & Briggs, we have extensive experience helping individuals who have been hurt in dram shop accidents. Our lawyers vigorously advocate for injured parties and their families. If you were involved in a drunk driving accident or another incident with an over-served patron, contact our office at (713) 751-0025 to schedule a free consultation.

What Is the Texas Dram Shop Act?

The Texas Dram Shop Act is codified under Sec 2.01 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code. This section of the state’s law imposes legal responsibility on a provider of alcohol that provides, sells, or serves alcohol to a person that is obviously intoxicated.

In general, the law does not impose liability on a social host. Therefore, only licensed sellers of alcohol can be held liable for overserving an adult under the state’s dram shop act.

The law does recognize the dangers of providing alcohol to minors and may allow a person to bring a cause of action against an adult who provides alcohol to a minor (person under age 18) if that minor then causes an accident. The adult cannot be the minor’s parent, guardian, or spouse.

What Do You Have to Prove in a Dram Shop Case?

There are several elements that must be proven in a dram shop case. Failure to prove these elements may result in your case being dismissed. It is important to discuss your case with a knowledgeable attorney to determine if you have a valid cause of action against a provider of alcohol.

Elements that must be proved in a dram shop case:

  • The person served was obviously intoxicated at the time they were served.
  • The intoxicated person caused an accident resulting in damages to themselves or another person.
  • The person’s intoxication was a proximate cause of the person’s injuries.

In order to hold a provider accountable for wrongdoing, it must be shown that the person’s intoxication was to the extent that they presented a clear danger to themselves or others. Proving that the person was obviously intoxicated at the time they were served can be challenging. A lawyer can help obtain video evidence, witness statements, receipts, and other information that may help prove your case.

Who Can Sue Under the Dram Shop Act?

There are several people that may be able to bring a cause of action under the state’s dram shop law. An attorney can help determine if you are eligible to bring a lawsuit. In many instances, dram shop act cases result from drunk driving accidents where an overserved patron was allowed to drive.

Individuals who may be able to bring a lawsuit against an alcohol provider:

  • A motorist injured in a drunk driving accident
  • A passenger of a vehicle involved in a drunk driving accident
  • A pedestrian or bicyclist hit by an intoxicated person
  • The family of someone killed by the intoxicated person
  • The drunk driver or overserved patron

Dram shop act liability is rarely cut and dry. It takes a skilled attorney who knows Texas law to be able to prove a bar or restaurant’s legal responsibility.

Injured by an Overserved Patron? Contact Our Office.

If you were involved in a drunk driving accident caused by an overserved person, you might be able to file a lawsuit against the bar or restaurant where they were drinking. Contact our office today at (713) 751-0025 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

At Fibich, Leebron, Copeland & Briggs, we draw from over a century of combined legal know-how and expertise. With the tenacity to win and the resources to get us there, our lawyers provide strong representation for injured victims and their families.