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What Restaurants, Bars, and Hotels Need to Know About Texas Dram Shop Laws

by | Aug 20, 2023 | Business Law

Businesses that offer alcohol to their customers fall within the “dram shop” classification, a legal term used to describe companies’ liability regarding alcohol. Restaurants, hotels, and bars are a few examples of establishments that fall under this category and may face legal consequences when violating the imposed regulations.

When your business falls under dram shop laws, staying up-to-date on Texas legislation and potential risks is vital for your company’s success. However, if your business faces legal consequences for dram shop infractions, immediately speak with a lawyer about your best legal options. 

What Restaurants, Bars, and Hotels Need to Know About Texas Dram Shop Laws

Dram shop laws are in place to regulate the sale and service of alcohol in hopes of preventing intoxicated individuals from causing harm to themselves and others. If your employee or business goes against dram shop regulations, your organization can suffer severe fines, penalties, and lawsuits. To protect your business and employees, consider the following laws:

When the Business Holds Partial Liability

Under Texas dram shop laws, an individual or business may be held partially liable for damages resulting from an intoxicated individual if the employee or business served, sold, or provided the individual with alcohol while they were obviously intoxicated to the extent they presented a clear danger to themselves and others. A business may also be held liable for serving, selling, or providing someone under the age of 21 with alcohol while knowing they are underage.

The Safe Harbor Defense

The Texas Dram Shop Act protects dram shop-regulated establishments through the Safe Harbor Defense for the actions of their employees. For your business to qualify for liability protection under this defense, companies must fulfill the following three criteria:

  • The employer requires employees to participate in a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) approved seller training program
  • The responsible employee has completed the necessary training
  • The employer has not in any way encouraged or promoted the violation of dram shop laws

When implementing processes to safeguard against civil liabilities associated with over-serving alcohol, businesses should ensure all their employees attend a TABC-approved seller training class. This proactive measure helps protect them and the company from potential legal issues related to alcohol service. If your employees have attended TABC-approved seller training programs, having the documentation is vital.

The Actions of the Drinker

It’s essential to emphasize the intoxicated individual’s actions when handling a dram shop lawsuit. A jury will consider their responsibility in the crash and determine the proportions of liability for the damages incurred in the accident. Speak with your lawyer about determining other responsible parties.

Laws and regulations can evolve over time, and staying informed about Texas dram shop law updates ensures your business complies with current legislation. When you partner with a devoted lawyer, you receive up-to-date information on laws and regulations necessary to operate your business. Speak with your lawyer about dram shop laws and how they may be able to assist your situation.

Discover Fahl & Donaldson for Experienced Dram Shop Liability Representation Today

With over 100 years of combined experience serving clients across the Texas Gulf Coast area and statewide, our Fahl & Donaldson lawyers possess the knowledge and resources to support your legal needs. By prioritizing personalized and transparent legal representation, our small firm is able to offer clients accessible communication and highly-qualified legal guidance. 

Our track record of success in arbitrations, litigation, and negotiations speaks to the quality of our legal knowledge. You don’t have to worry about traveling to our office; we are prepared to meet you and assist in your legal needs. For a free consultation, reach out to our team today by calling (346) 241-7355 or completing our contact form. Let us support you in ensuring your business’s safety and success.