Texas Dram Shop Laws: A Guide to the Texas Dram Shop Act

Texas’ Dram Shop laws allow people who were hurt or injured by someone who was intoxicated to recover against the business that served them the alcohol under certain circumstances. Below we review and discuss the details of the Texas Dram Shop laws, providing an essential guide for understanding your rights, potential liabilities, and the path to recourse in the unfortunate event of a personal injury caused by an intoxicated individual. We’ll discuss the Texas Dram Shop Act in the hopes it helps you better understand Texas’ legal landscape concerning alcohol-related accidents and their aftermath. We have prepared this article to provide information to our readers. It should not be considered as legal advice.

Have questions about dram shop liability in Texas? Talk to the experienced attorneys at Sandoval James for a free consultation.

What is the Texas Dram Shop Law?

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First, it’s important to understand what the Dram Shop Law is. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code is a set of laws governing the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages in Texas. It also establishes the liability of businesses, such as bars and restaurants, which serve alcohol.

Essentially, the law holds these kinds of establishments accountable for their role in causing or contributing to an alcohol-related accident. It protects Texas citizens from becoming victims by allowing them and/or their families access to legal recourse if they have been injured due to an establishment’s failure to meet its obligations. These laws list the conditions under which a bar or restaurant may be held liable for the actions of an intoxicated patron.

Texas dram shop laws state that a business where alcohol is provided, sold, or served can be held liable for injuries caused by an intoxicated customer when:

  • The customer was visibly intoxicated and a potential hazard to themselves or others; and
  • The customer’s intoxicated state was the cause of the injuries you suffered.

Liabilities Under the Texas Dram Shop Law

Under Texas’ Dram Shop Laws, establishments may be liable for any damages that result from their serving of alcohol to a patron who is obviously intoxicated. This includes medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of consortium or companionship, funeral expenses for wrongful death claims, and more.

The law also holds establishments liable if they negligently serve alcohol to a minor or when an intoxicated patron causes an injury after leaving the establishment. In these cases, the Dram Shop Law places responsibility on establishments for not recognizing and/or preventing the potential harm that their actions could cause.

Duty of Care in the Texas Dram Shop Act

The “Duty of Care” is the legal obligation that bars and restaurants must adhere to when serving alcoholic beverages. This means that they must take reasonable steps to prevent the patrons from becoming overly intoxicated, such as refraining from over-serving their customers.

By failing to meet this Duty of Care, establishments can be held liable for any injuries that result from their negligence. It is important to note that this Duty of Care applies not only to bars and restaurants but also to other entities that serve alcohol, such as private clubs, convenience stores, or liquor stores.

Potential Damages in Texas Dram Shop Cases

As mentioned above, individuals who have been injured due to an establishment’s negligent actions are entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Additionally, the family members of a victim may be entitled to compensatory damages as well, such as lost companionship or consortium in the case of wrongful death claims.

Who can be held liable under the Texas Dram Shop Act?

Under the Texas Dram Shop Act, both commercial establishments and social hosts can be held liable. Commercial establishments, such as bars and restaurants, can be held liable if they serve alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person. Similarly, social hosts can be held liable under Texas Social Host Liability Law if they provide alcohol to minors under 18.

When Do Texas Dram Shop Laws Apply?

The application of Texas Dram Shop Laws is typically related to drunk driving accidents. The law comes into play when an establishment serves alcohol to an intoxicated person who then gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, causing an accident.

It is important to note that Texas Dram Shop Laws do not apply when a person purchases alcohol from an establishment and then drinks it in their home. In such cases, any injuries caused by drinking will not be covered under this law.

How Can I Prove Liability Under Texas Dram Shop Act?

To prove liability for damages resulting from an alcohol-related accident, it is important to seek evidence that establishes the connection between the intoxicated person and the establishment. This can include surveillance footage of the individual being served alcohol, witness statements, medical records detailing intoxication levels, and more.

Experienced legal representation can help you navigate this process and ensure all relevant evidence is accounted for. With the right representation, you may recover significant damages from an establishment or social host serving alcohol to an intoxicated person.

Does the Texas Dram Shop Act Also Apply to Drunk Driving Accidents?

Yes, the Texas Dram Shop Act primarily aims at drunk driving accidents. It provides a legal recourse for victims of drunk driving accidents to seek damages caused by an intoxicated driver. Specifically, it holds establishments liable for any damages caused by serving alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person who gets behind a car’s wheel.

Can a Law Firm Help Me File a Texas Dram Shop Claim?

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Absolutely. An experienced Dram Shop injury attorney can help you file a Texas Dram Shop claim. They can guide you through the process, ensuring you meet all the filing requirements, and represent your best interests in court.

A lawyer can also help you obtain evidence to build a strong case, such as surveillance footage of the intoxicated patron being served alcohol, witness testimonies, and records of the drunk driver’s alcohol purchases. With the right legal representation, you can maximize your chances of recovery.

What Role Does an Establishment Play in a Texas Dram Shop Case?

An establishment plays a critical role in a Texas Dram Shop case. Under the law, an establishment that serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person can be held liable for damages caused by the intoxicated person.

Establishments must also take the necessary steps to ensure customers are not visibly intoxicated before serving them alcohol. If an establishment fails to do so, it may be held liable for damages resulting from drunk driving accidents and other negligent actions of customers. Therefore, establishments must be extra cautious when serving alcoholic beverages.

Get Legal Help with Your Texas Dram Shop Claim

If you or a loved one has been injured due to an establishment’s negligent serving of alcohol, it is important to seek legal help from experienced professionals who understand the complexities of the law and can help take action. With the right representation, you can recover damages for injuries sustained and punitive damages, bringing you one step closer to justice. If you need legal representation, consider reaching out to Sandoval James, consultations are completely free.

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