Texas Dram Shop Law Can Help in Car Wreck Case

We know car accidents happen every day. These road incidents can have short and long lasting impacts on a person’s life, whether that impact is physical, emotional, financial, or all of the above.

One common cause of Texas car accidents is drunk driving. Driving drunk is totally avoidable. Obviously, the driver who was impaired and caused the crash could have chosen not to drink. The driver could have chosen to use an Uber in order to get around.

There is, however, another way in which Texas laws try to prevent harm caused from drinking and driving. Have you ever heard of dram shop laws?

What Are Dram Shop Laws?

Texas passed its Dram Shop Law in 1987. The law puts the potential of liability on providers of alcohol. The idea was that if those who work at bars or restaurants know they could be partially blamed for a DUI accident, maybe they would act more responsibly.

The Texas legal code defines a provider of alcohol as the following: “a person who sells or serves an alcoholic beverage under authority of a license or permit….” This could mean that the provider sold or served the alcohol to a patron in an establishment with a liquor license. Examples of these possible providers are bartenders and/or waitstaff.

Dram shop liability becomes an option for plaintiffs in DUI crash cases if they have reason to believe a provider played a role in the impairment of the drunk driver who caused injuries in an accident. The question they’d ask is whether it would have been reasonable for a provider to have refused to serve someone who was clearly a danger to the community and/or him or herself.

What Do We Need to Prove?

Proving a driver was impaired at the time of an accident is pretty straightforward. Law enforcement can generally measure a suspect’s blood alcohol content level through various tests. However, when trying to prove a provider’s guilt in a DUI incident, there isn’t a breath, urine, or blood test to administer that will help.

You have the driver’s chemical tests and actions to go by, and then there needs to be a separate investigation into the establishment where the driver consumed the alcohol. Are there camera recordings at the bar in question? Do witnesses from the time when the alcohol was provided remember obvious signs that the drunk driver should not have been served alcohol?

Personal Injury Lawyers Will Know What to Ask

Dram shop laws add a layer of helpful accountability, but they also add a layer of legal complexity to a personal injury case involving drunk driving. Whether an accident victim wants to pursue only the drunk driver in a DUI accident case or an establishment, too, they will need the experienced guidance that the attorneys at The Fell Law Firm can provide.

Contact us online or at 972-450-1418 to understand what the next steps should be to best protect your rights following a drunk driving accident.

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