FAQs: Liquor Liability and Dram Shop Attorneys in Texas

Q: My son was hit by a car driven by a drunk driver who had just left a bar. Can I sue the bar?

A: Most states, including Texas, have laws that allow you to pursue the establishment or person that contributed to a drunk driver’s intoxication. These are known as Dram Shop or liquor liability laws. They usually require that the bartender, waitress, or owner who served the alcohol was aware of the person’s intoxication at the time they served them additional alcohol. If this is found to be true, then they could be liable for your son’s injuries and damages.

Q: My 20 year old daughter was in a single car accident on the way home from a friend’s house after they were at a club together. The accident left her with a serious spinal cord injury and now she is a paraplegic. Can she sue the club?

A: This is a tricky case because there are other possible factors that could have contributed to the accident, so it is best to review the details of your case with an experienced attorney. Dram Shop liquor liability laws generally require proof that the club was negligent in selling alcohol to an intoxicated minor. Even though it is illegal to sell alcohol to a minor, she needed to be obviously intoxicated for the servers to be accountable for serving the alcohol and subsequently for her injury and it needs to be shown that the intoxication from the club was the cause of the accident.

Q: What sort of businesses can be held liable in Dram Shop cases?

A: Almost any type of business that serves or sells alcohol can be held liable if they served alcohol to a person who was visibly intoxicated at the time and went on to cause injury and damage to a third party. Restaurants, bars, clubs, liquor stores, and private events like home or office parties can all be types of businesses liable under Dram Shop laws. If it is a private party, then the company or person(s) that hosted the party can be held liable.

Q: If my accident and injury occurred in another state where the drunk driver resides, does it matter where the claim is filed?

A: It probably does matter because each state sets their Dram Shop and liquor liability laws and they can vary significantly from state to state. You should speak with an attorney to discuss the details of your accident and injuries and s/he can advise you on the best way to proceed.

Q: I was injured in an accident with a drunk driver who had been drinking at a company Christmas party. Who is liable for my injuries?

A: The drunk driver who caused the injuries is definitely liable for your injuries due to his negligent and irresponsible behavior. In addition, although Texas generally does not hold a host responsible for people attending their party, in some cases where the host may have a special relationship with the attendees, such as in an employer-employee context, the employer may have some liability for the damage caused by the intoxicated employee. In this type of situation, it is important to consult an attorney in order to determine who may be at fault and held responsible for your injuries.

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