What Is Dram Shop Liability And How Does It Affect Your Auto Accident Case? – For centuries, bars, taverns, and saloons served as community meeting places. While establishments that serve alcohol are expected to do so responsibly, the sad truth is that owners, managers, bartenders and wait staff sometimes fail in their duty to avoid over-serving patrons.
When too much alcohol is served to customers, both the intoxicated person and other members of the public are at risk. The danger most often associated with this situation is drunk driving, but that’s not the only danger that can arise when someone leaves a bar or restaurant after one (or more) too many.
What Is Dram Shop Liability And How Does It Affect Your Auto Accident Case?
If you or someone you love has been injured by an intoxicated person, the Houston Dram Shop attorneys at Patrick Daniel Law will investigate whether you have a claim against the company that sold the alcohol. Call (713) 999-6666 today for a free consultation. Our attorneys serve clients in Houston, throughout Texas and across the country.
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Liquor liability is a legal term that establishes a company’s liability for a customer’s overdose of alcohol, which subsequently injures another. The name comes from shops in England that served gin by the dram.
The dram shop laws impose a social responsibility on businesses that serve alcohol. They also give victims of road accidents and other injuries caused by drunk people another chance to claim compensation for their injuries.
Most states have some form of drama trade law. In Texas, for example, the Alcoholic Beverage Act states that a supplier of alcohol can be held liable for acts committed by an intoxicated person if:
Dram shop liability in Texas also applies to licensed alcohol suppliers, such as restaurants and bars, as well as private individuals who sell alcohol in social settings. This second category of service providers is known as host social responsibility.
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In other states, dram shop laws may only apply to establishments, not social hosts, or liability may arise only if the intoxicated person is under the legal drinking age. A small number of states do not have drama shop laws. In California, individuals and businesses that serve alcohol are exempt by law from civil liability for the actions of intoxicated customers they serve.
Texas dram shop law does not operate on the basis of strict liability. Under the strict liability standard, the defendant is legally responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries and damages regardless of any negligence or wrongful conduct.
In Texas, dram shop liability arises when evidence shows that the negligence of the server and/or the facility itself contributed to the patron’s intoxication. Indeed, the plaintiff must prove that the company (a) served alcohol to a guest who was clearly intoxicated, or (b) knowingly served alcohol to a minor and (c) that person’s intoxication harmed the plaintiff.
Bars, restaurants, and other establishments that serve alcohol can be held liable for serious injuries you suffer as a result of:
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In addition to personal injury lawsuits, drama store liability can also apply in wrongful death cases. If your loved one was killed by a drunk driver or as a result of other injuries caused by a drunk person, you may be able to receive compensation from both the person responsible and the business that served the alcohol.
Any establishment that sells, serves, or otherwise supplies alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person or a minor may be liable for damages under the Texas Dram Shop Act. It includes:
The companies aren’t the only potential defendants in the kite trade lawsuit. Liability may also include natural persons who knowingly serve alcohol to minors on premises they own or rent.
Determining a company’s liability for contributing to a patron’s intoxication can be difficult. In these cases, a timely and thorough examination is necessary.
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Host social responsibility can be more difficult to prove because it is based almost entirely on eyewitness testimony. Again, a quick investigation is key to establishing the facts about the intoxicated person’s behavior and the amount of alcohol they were administered.
Accountability for a Dram store is a complex matter. Although a server (such as a bartender, waiter, or waitress, etc.) may be directly liable for over-serving an intoxicated patron who continues to cause injury to another, it is usually the business (i.e., the server’s employer) that may be held liable under dram shop law.
However, the company’s liability is not guaranteed. Texas Liquor Code § 106.14 contains a “safe harbor” provision that allows employers to challenge liability in a dram shop action if:
Employers must demonstrate that (a) employees are required to participate in an approved vendor training program and (b) that the employee actually participated in the training program. Meanwhile, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to show that the employer “directly or indirectly induced” the employee to violate the Play Store Act (as held by the Texas Supreme Court in 20801, Inc. v. Parker).
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A Houston dram shop attorney can investigate whether a bar, restaurant, or other business has taken the necessary steps to invoke safe harbor protections. Your attorney can also determine how the negligence of the server and/or owner contributed to your injuries.
In Texas, a host’s social responsibility is limited to situations where a person 21 years of age or older knowingly provides alcohol to a minor (a person under 18) and/or the minor was visibly intoxicated. A social host may be liable for injuries and damages caused by the intoxication of a minor (see Liquor Law, § 2.02).
Several communities in Texas have enacted their own social host ordinances to make it easier for local law enforcement to crack down on underage drinking and to allow victims to hold adults accountable for contributing to underage drinking. The following Texas cities have social host ordinances:
An experienced Houston Dram Shop attorney can evaluate applicable state and local social media laws to determine if you have a case after a drunk driving accident or other incident involving an intoxicated minor.
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Hosts and employees of establishments that serve alcohol are not trained or equipped to perform the type of field sobriety tests that police officers use to identify drunk drivers. There is also no legal expectation that bars, restaurants and private individuals use this type of test.
However, recognizing the obvious signs that someone is drunk does not require law enforcement experience. These symptoms may include:
All of these behaviors should tell a reasonable observer that someone has had too much to drink. However, these dangers are commonly overlooked or ignored by owners, managers and employees of establishments that serve alcohol.
Our founder and senior attorney Patrick Daniel recently wrote an article for Law.com discussing the important social and legal function of dramatic trade laws. The article discusses the more than 80,000 preventable deaths annually from alcohol-related causes, as well as the $200 billion in annual costs of alcohol abuse in the United States.
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Drunk people are responsible for their drunken actions. But businesses should also be held liable when their serving of alcohol results in intoxication that harms another person.
Dram shop laws allow people to seek justice if they have been injured or lost loved ones as a result of the recklessness of a drunk person. Rather than being limited to filing a lawsuit against the person directly responsible for the injury or wrongful death, the dram shop law allows those who have been harmed to seek damages from a business that contributed to the accident through irresponsible sales, service, or delivery. from alcohol.
Families of those who have lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident or other incident can also seek wrongful death compensation through a dramatic trade. Drambutikk’s attorney Patrick Daniel can research the details of your case, gather evidence on your behalf, and work tirelessly to recover the damages you and your family have suffered.
Cases where a company may be liable for injuries you suffer due to an intoxicated customer begin with an assessment of the individual’s behavior. If the person responsible was intoxicated, it is important to determine who served the alcohol.
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Our lawyers will review police reports and interview witnesses to find out where the person was, how much they drank and how they behaved while intoxicated. We can subpoena cell phone records or credit card charges to find out where the defendant in your lawsuit purchased alcohol.
The investigation will then focus on the actions of the company’s employees. Our attorneys will speak with witnesses who saw the defendant’s violation, as well as analyze the company’s policies and procedures regarding the serving of alcohol. We will also check state records to see if the business has previously faced charges or allegations of over-serving customers or serving alcohol to minors.
An intoxicated person may have been served at more than one establishment prior to the incident that caused your injury. This is often the case