In the United States, someone dies in an accident involving a drunk driver every 53 minutes. According to a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) report from 2015, Texas led the nation in 2013 with 1,337 fatalities in drunk driving accidents. In Texas, victims of drunk driving accidents may be able to bring a cause of action against both the intoxicated driver and any establishment that negligently over-served that person.
Texas is among 30 states with dram shop laws, which create a civil cause of action against alcohol providers who serve obviously intoxicated individuals. When alcohol providers negligently over-serve intoxicated individuals, they may be held liable for any resulting damages to third-parties.
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you should speak to an experienced personal injury attorney right away to discuss your legal options. Our car accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have over 27 years of experience handling serious car accident cases and will fight to help you obtain the maximum compensation possible for your injuries and other losses. Call us today at (281) 283-8500.
Texas Dram Shop Act
“Dram shop” refers to establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold, such as liquor stores, bars, restaurants, or nightclubs. Dram shop laws originated in the 1880s and were intended to impose liability on establishments that allowed patrons to over consume alcohol and whose intoxication subsequently caused injuries to others.
The Texas Legislature passed the Dram Shop Act in 1987, which is found in Section 2.02 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. Under the Texas Dram Shop Act, a provider of alcoholic beverages can be held liable for if the plaintiff proves that:
- At the time the provider sold or served the alcohol it was apparent to the provider that the recipient was obviously intoxicated to the extent he presented a clear danger to himself and others, and
- The intoxication of that individual proximately caused the damages suffered.
The statute defines “provider” to mean a person who sells or serves an alcoholic beverage under authority of a license or permit issued under the terms of this code or who otherwise sells an alcoholic beverage to an individual.
The Safe Harbor Defense
Alcohol providers can avoid liability under the Dram Shop Act if they can establish that they fall within the safe harbor provision contained in Section 106.14 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. Under the safe harbor provision, the actions of employees will not be attributed to their employers if the employer can show that:
- The employer requires its employees to attend a commission-approved seller training program;
- The employee has actually attended such a training program; and
- The employer has not directly or indirectly encouraged the employee to violate such law.
How Our Houston Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
If you have been injured or tragically lost a loved because of a drunk driver, contact the Houston car accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. for help. We can investigate your accident to determine liability, help you understand your options for pursuing a claim under the Texas Dram Shop Act, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Our Houston personal injury attorneys fight to obtain the best possible results for our clients, and we are committed to providing top-notch representation.
Contact us today at (281) 283-8500 for a free consultation.