You may have heard about dram shop laws, but what exactly are they? They are laws in place that make a dram shop liable for injuries caused by its patrons. A dram shop essentially is an establishment where alcohol is sold and consumed, such as a bar or club. If a bartender knows that a patron is intoxicated but continues to serve alcohol to the person, the establishment can be held liable if the patron goes on to, for example, cause a fight or get in a car accident.
Not all states have dram shop laws, but most do. There are just eight states that have no such laws. The states that have dram shop laws tend to have variances in the language when it comes to intoxication, retailers, guests and sales.
Texas has dram shop laws in place to hold bars and clubs liable for injuries caused by intoxicated patrons. These laws place blame on multiple parties in an attempt to curb drunk driving.
Texas Dram Shop Laws
Under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Ann. §2.01, a bar or retailer can be held liable if it sold, provided or served an alcoholic beverage to a customer who was apparently intoxicated at the time the transaction took place, and that customer went on to cause injuries and property damage due to his or her intoxication.
A person age 21 years or older is liable for damages caused by a minor under the age of 18 if the adult is not the minor’s spouse or parent, and the adult contributed to the minor’s intoxication by knowingly serving him or her alcohol.
When a person brings a lawsuit against a bar or other place of business that sold the alcoholic beverage to the intoxicated person, the person who caused the accident is not absolved from any liability. This means that the intoxicated person is still liable for the accident to some degree. Multiple parties can be held liable for the person’s intoxication
What Must be Proven in a Dram Shop Claim?
It must be proven that a place of business sold alcohol to an intoxicated person. While Texas has dram shop laws in place, this is not a guarantee that the place of business will be held entirely liable. Owners are not automatically liable for injuries caused by them serving alcohol to an intoxicated patron.
In Texas, the laws become even more complicated. For example, the plaintiff (victim) cannot recover if they are 51% at fault or more. But, if there are multiple defendants (establishments serving alcohol) and collectively they are 50% or more responsible, then they can all be held responsible, even if individually they are responsible for less than 50%. In other words, the laws of joint and several responsibility mean that a bar can be less than 50% responsible and still be liable for some of the damages.
Let Our Austin, Texas Personal Injury Attorneys Help You Today
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver in Austin, it’s important to hold the liable parties responsible. While the drunk driver will be at fault, if a bar or pub was involved, then they could be held liable as well.
If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, the Austin personal injury attorneys at DC Law can help you understand dram shop laws so you can obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Schedule your free consultation today. Contact our office at (512) 220-1800.