In Texas, and in every state throughout the nation, if you are injured in a
car accident caused by a drunk driver, you can bring a
personal injury claim against that person. But in some situations, you may have more options
for a legal remedy.
An injured individual may also be able to bring a claim against the business
(i.e. bar or restaurant) or another third party that provided alcohol
to the intoxicated person. These are considered as “dram shop” claims.
Texas’ dram shop act is found in the Alcoholic Beverage Code, and
holds establishments liable for selling alcohol to “obviously”
intoxicated individuals. The person suing the establishment must prove
that the defendant was obviously intoxicated to the extent that they were
a danger to themselves or others when they were sold alcohol. This means
that the bar or restaurant served alcohol to a customer that it knew or
should have known was drunk.
Texas law requires bartenders to consider the following signs of potential
- The number of drinks the person has had
- The type of drinks that the person has received
- Slurred speech
- Loud voice
- Profane language
- Using walls and other surfaces to balance oneself
- Violent behavior
- Overly sexual behavior
- Difficulty answering questions
In addition to dram shop law that applies to alcohol vendors, social host
liability law allows an injured party to seek damages from any host over
21 years of age who provides alcohol to a minor who is under age 18 if
(1) the adult is not the parent, guardian, legal custodian, or spouse
of the minor, and (2) the adult knowingly served or provided an alcoholic
beverage to the minor or allowed the minor to drink on any property owned
by the adult.
Like other personal injury claims, a dram shop or social host liability
claim must be filed in a Texas court within two years of the date of the injury.
If you have been injured in a car accident,
request a free consultation with our Fort Worth personal injury attorney at the
Law Office of James M. Stanley today.