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Texas Dram Shop Laws and How They Impact Lawsuits for Victims

by | May 10, 2024 | Business Law

While many people choose to take a taxi or rideshare after a night of drinking, others unfortunately insist on driving themselves, which can cause serious accidents and injuries. If you have been hurt in a drunk driving accident, you may hold the establishment that served the drunk driver liable under Texas dram shop laws, which allow victims to sue businesses if they served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated or underaged individual.

At Fahl & Donaldson, we understand Texas dram shop liability laws and how they may impact your claim. For instance, you may have to prove a business encouraged excessive drinking if they overserved a patron. Our highly-experienced lawyers provide dedicated, reliable representation you can trust to help navigate the complex legal process and secure the justice you deserve. We closely evaluate every detail of your case, including the damages you suffered, to build a strong claim that gives you the best chance of maximum compensation.

What is the Texas Dram Shop Act?

In 1987, the Dram Shop Act was passed in Texas. This law allows drunk driving victims to hold the following parties liable for serving visibly intoxicated patrons or those under 21:

  • Social hosts: If the host of a house party or other private event serves alcohol to a minor who is not their own child and the underaged individual causes an accident and injuries to others, the host may be liable.
  • Businesses: Alcohol-serving establishments may also be held liable for drunk driving accidents if they served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person or an underaged individual. 

If you file a dram shop liability lawsuit, you carry the burden of proof. This means, your case must contain evidence that proves the establishment knew the drunk driver was intoxicated and served them anyway. In cases involving minors, your claim must prove the business or social host served the minor alcohol. Our knowledgeable lawyers understand this responsibility and work hard to gather evidence, such as witness testimony, expert opinion, and video footage, to prove negligence and determine the best course of action.

Do Businesses Have Protections Against Dram Shop Liability in Texas?

While bars, restaurants, and other alcohol-serving establishments must take their responsibilities seriously and avoid serving alcohol to intoxicated and underage individuals, they maintain some level of protection under Texas’ Safe Harbor Act. This law is a defense businesses may use if the following are true:

  • The staff attended a commission-approved seller training program.
  • The employee who served the minor or visibly intoxicated person attended training courses. 
  • They did not encourage their staff to violate the law.

When thoroughly investigating your case, we consider the possibility of a business using this defense and how to ensure they are held accountable for their negligence. Our top-notch litigators fiercely advocate for the fair settlement you deserve, negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf and helping you understand your rights and legal options based on your unique circumstances. 

Discuss Your Texas Dram Shop Liability Case With the Experienced Lawyers at Fahl & Donaldson

If you have suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident because the driver was over-served at an establishment, you may have the right to hold the driver and the establishment responsible for their negligence with Texas’ dram shop laws. However, these types of claims can be complicated, so it’s essential to contact a trusted lawyer who can help. With over 100 years of combined experience handling complex dram shop liability cases, Fahl & Donaldson can help you understand state laws and how they can impact victim lawsuits and your defense. 

We proudly provide Texas drunk driving victims with unmatched comprehensive legal services, taking the stress of negotiation and litigation off your plate. Our tenacious attorneys are unafraid to stand up to businesses who have neglected their duty of care. To learn more about your dram shop liability lawsuit, call us at (346) 241-7355 or fill out our contact form.