Brad Parker, the founder and dram shop liability lawyer, Parker Law Firm. Speaks about dram shop liability in Texas.

When a drunk driver causes an accident, the results are often catastrophic. Since alcohol intake is linked with inhibited judgment and delayed reactions, a drunk driver who causes a crash may be traveling at a higher speed than a driver who is more alert.

Dram shop liability attorneys can hold establishments responsible if the alcohol was sold or given to a minor under age 18, the alcohol was sold to an obviously intoxicated person who posed a clear danger to themselves or others, and if the intoxication was a direct cause of the injuries suffered.

We presented our case to the law firm of Brad Parker and Associates who has vast experience in Dram Shop cases. Brad quickly went to work on our case which ended in a most favorable outcome.

Larry B., Parker Law Firm client

The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) headed up by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concludes that dram shop liability is effective in preventing and reducing alcohol-related harms. CPSTF found that dram shop liability laws prevent harms related to excessive drinking — like death or injury from motor vehicle crashes. 

Dram shop laws in Texas do not only relate to drunk driving auto accidents. A dram shop could also be vicariously liable for alcohol-related assaults, sex crimes, acts of violence, property damage, vandalism and other crimes or acts of negligence an intoxicated individual commits if the dram shop furnished the alcohol to the individual.

What is dram shop liability?

Dram shop liability relates to the civil liability that can be imposed against certain establishments that serve alcohol. Dram shop liability may also extend to restaurants or clubs, and it means that a bar or other establishment may be held liable for civil damages if it provided alcohol to a patron who later got into an accident and harmed someone else.

Which Fort Worth Businesses Can Be Held Responsible? 

Licensed Providers

A licensed provider of alcohol is any business or person that sells or serves alcohol to patrons in exchange for money. This can include:

  • Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Night clubs
  • Liquor stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Strip clubs
  • Caterers
  • Airlines flights
  • Party buses
  • Rodeos
  • Sports stadiums

Unlicensed Providers

Unlicensed providers do not have a liquor license, yet they assume the role of an alcohol seller as if they do. Since alcohol is such a heavily regulated substance, lawmakers have decided that if you sell alcohol without a license, you’re held to the same legal standard as a licensed provider. Common examples of unlicensed providers are:

  • Frat or house parties that charge a cover
  • Restaurants that serve alcohol “under the table”
  • Mom-and-pop vendors who sell alcohol out of their home
  • Unlicensed caterers who charge for drinks at a social function

How to Use Texas Dram Shop Law and Prove Liability 

If you were seriously hurt in a drunk driving accident and you intend to take action, you may be thinking about including the bar or restaurant that served the motorist prior to the wreck in your claim. They probably have a lot more liability insurance than the driver involved. This strategy will demand a significant amount of evidence. Our dram shop liability lawyers understand the pieces of proof you’ll need to present to pursue a satisfactory settlement:

1. Eyewitness Testimony

Those who saw the establishment serve the intoxicated or underage individual can corroborate your claim. Potential eyewitnesses include employees and other customers.

2. Surveillance Footage

A lot of businesses are equipped with surveillance systems. So, there’s a good chance that footage of the motorist being served exists.

3. Police Report

After leaving the scene of the accident, officers should have filed a formal report. This document could contain all kinds of helpful information that may ultimately contribute to your claim. If police conducted a breathalyzer at the scene, they should have recorded the results in their report. They may have also recorded any confessions from the drivers involved.

4. Toxicology Results

If police conducted any blood or urine tests, their results could prove important to your claim. In Texas, a driver is considered impaired if they have a BAC of at least 0.08 percent. Toxicology results are considered proof of intoxication, presuming chain of custody and other evidentiary requirements are met.

5. Medical Records

After proving liability, you’re going to have to prove damages. This starts with medical records. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to supplement your records with statements from relevant experts who can speak on your injuries and explain how they were caused by the collision that occurred.

What are Drunk Driving Deterrents?

Sobriety checkpoints with high-visibility traffic safety enforcement are ways in which officers attempt to deter drunk driving. These checkpoints are a key element of MADD’s (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) campaign to eliminate drunk driving. The primary purpose of these high-visibility efforts is to catch drunk drivers, communicate to potential offenders that there is no tolerance for impaired driving, and to help end drunk and drugged driving once and for all. MADD reports that sobriety checkpoints have proven to reduce drunk driving fatalities by 20 percent.

How Our Fort Worth Dram Shop Attorneys Can Help

At Parker Law Firm, our dram shop liability lawyers have more than four decades of experience handling motor vehicle-accident claims, including cases involving drunk drivers. We understand the challenges that come with these types of claims, and we know how to effectively prepare them for trial. We can quickly determine the value of your case, so you can decide whether it’s in your best interest to settle or go to trial. We also understand the types of evidence that are most effective with juries and when it’s a good idea to bring in an expert witness.