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Every year, thousands of Americans are injured in accidents involving alcohol. While you are able to hold the driver liable for the costs of your injuries, dram shop laws may also allow you to file suit against the party who served the intoxicated person alcohol. These laws are very complex. A dram shop liability lawyer in Dallas can help.
The attorneys at Lovins Trosclair have an in-depth knowledge of Texas’ dram shop laws and can assist you with your dram shop liability claim. Give us a call today: 214-484-1930.
Injuries from Drunk Driving Accidents
Drinking alcohol affects your brain and your body. It can impair vision and hearing, cause drowsiness, slow down reaction times, and affect sense of judgment. These effects can cause people to act recklessly and behave negligently.
If an intoxicated driver gets behind the wheel, he can cause an accident and serious injuries, such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Bruises and lacerations
- Psychological issues
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, both the driver and the establishment that served him might be liable.
Filing a Dram Shop Liability Lawsuit
According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Chapter 2, third parties who provide alcohol to an intoxicated person who causes an accident may be liable for any injuries that person causes.
Potentially responsible third-party alcohol vendors include:
- Convenience stores
- Liquor stores
How to Prove Dram Shop Liability
In Texas, alcohol vendors may be liable for an injury if:
- They gave alcohol to a person under the age of 18; or
- They gave alcohol to someone who was obviously intoxicated at the time served; and
- The person’s intoxication was the proximate cause of the injuries suffered by the victim.
What is “obvious intoxication”?
It can be difficult to define whether someone is “obviously intoxicated.” Many states expect alcohol servers to look for visual cues that show the customer is drunk. Common signs include:
- Erratic behavior
- Bloodshot eyes
- Inability to stand or walk properly
- Slurred speech
- Quantity of alcohol consumed
If an alcohol vendor saw these signs and still continued to give the intoxicated person alcohol, it could be liable for any injuries the intoxicated person caused.
Proving obvious intoxication is difficult, but our team will work with experts and locate witnesses to show the establishment knew of the driver’s intoxicated and served him anyway.
What is a social host?
A social host can also be liable for any injuries an intoxicated person causes. A social host is someone who gives alcohol to visitors or makes alcohol available to guests. Different laws apply to social hosts, making them liable only in certain circumstances.
Under the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, social hosts are generally not liable for overserving adults, no matter how intoxicated the adult was.
The law expects that social hosts will prevent minors from drinking alcohol at their home. If a host over the age of 21 gives alcohol to a minor under the age 18 who injures someone, the injured person may recover damages from the host if:
- The adult is not the parent or guardian of the minor in question; and
- The adult knowingly provided the minor with alcohol or allowed them to drink
Evidence Needed in Dram Shop Cases
In order to prove that the person or business serving alcohol was liable for your injuries, you will need to present evidence establishing negligence.
Testimony from the alcohol provider, records indicating how many drinks the establishment sold the customer, surveillance video, and eyewitness testimony can help prove the establishment overserved the customer.
We may also need to present expert evidence to establish that the intoxication was the proximate cause of the injury.
What damages can I recover in a dram shop liability claim?
If your claim is successful, you will be entitled to damages from the establishment or social host. Potential compensable damages include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Emotional trauma
As with other Texas personal injury claims, you have two years from the date of injury to file suit against the establishment. Failure to file within this time period will bar you from recovering damages entirely. Two years might seem like a long time, but injury cases take time to resolve. Do not wait until the last minute.
Navigating the complexities of dram shop laws can be challenging. Fortunately, the attorneys at Lovins Trosclair have years of experience handling these cases. We will help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.