While Texas dram shop laws prohibit the sale of alcohol to those clearly inebriated, many of these drivers were overserved at bars before they got behind the wheel and killed someone. When a bar or other establishment allows someone to consume too much alcohol and that person causes a serious car wreck, you have the opportunity to hold them accountable. As personal injury lawyers in Houston, we strive to help our clients hold negligent parties accountable for their actions.
If you or someone you love sustained an injury due to a drunk driver, call on the Houston dram shop lawyers at Universal Law Group. With a drunk driving accident attorney on your side, you have someone to focus on your case while you focus on healing.
Talk to one of our dram shop attorneys today. Call 832-767-0339 now to speak with someone from our team.
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Were you hit by a drunk driver? Did you sustain injuries that require medical treatment? Often, victims of negligence are left to wonder how to cover their medical expenses and repairs to their property. As experienced Houston motor vehicle accident attorneys, we understand the pressure you feel.
Unfortunately, drunk driving accidents are a common occurrence across the state of Texas. Any Houston DWI lawyer can tell you how seriously Texas takes drunk driving offenses. There’s a significant recognition of the problem, and it comes with severe criminal consequences.
Still, the focus on punishment does little to help the victims of drunk drivers. Another unfortunate reality is that minimum liability coverage doesn’t always cover your damages when you sustain injuries at the hand of a drunk driver.
Fortunately, when a bar overserves a driver, there is an opportunity to hold them liable. With liquor liability insurance, bars provide an opportunity to compensate you properly for your losses.
However, cases against bars and clubs aren’t simple in Texas. That’s why you need an advocate on your side who understands how to hold the liable accountable. When you work with our Houston dram shop lawyers, we investigate your case to maximize your settlement. If a bar overserves a driver, we know how to build and pursue a case against them.
Typically, dram shop cases tack on to car accident claims that involve a drunk driver. In the state of Texas, the Texas Dram Shop Act, Section 2 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, as amended, governs cases of liquor liability.
The Act allows families who lose a loved one as well as personal injury victims to file lawsuits against commercial alcohol providers when they are liable for a drunk driving accident. With an experienced dram shop lawyer, Houston victims take their first step in their fight to protect their futures.
Generally speaking, the burden of proof lies with you, the plaintiff, and your legal representation. As your auto accident attorneys, we investigate your claim to uncover proof that the negligent driver was obviously intoxicated when the establishment provided them with additional alcohol.
When we prove this, we show that they were a danger to themselves and others. Moreover, we have to prove that overserving alcohol led to your damages and losses.
With an early start on your claim, our Houston dram shop lawyers act quickly to gather evidence.
As Houston dram shop lawyers, we know that the crux of your case is to prove that the alcohol provider served alcohol to someone they knew (or should have realized) was inebriated. There are specific types of evidence at play in these cases. Let’s take a look at some examples.
Reliable testimony from witnesses and video evidence of obvious intoxication are the best forms of evidence for dram shop cases. In the past, video evidence relied on security footage from the establishment.
Today, there’s the possibility to pull video from social media to show how the driver behaved at the bar.
As we comb through different types of documents, testimony, and medical evidence, our Houston dram shop lawyers attempt to turn back the clock and piece together an argument to show obvious intoxication.
Although this relies on inference, it is valuable evidence. In fact, these arguments often perform well in these types of cases.
Bar receipts help to show that, given the amount of alcohol consumed, there’s no way for the patron to have been sober by the time they consumed their last drink before getting behind the wheel.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has charts that help servers estimate how much alcohol it takes for a patron to get drunk. These charts help show juries how intoxicated people are at the time of a drunk driving accident.
Moreover, every TABC-certified server sees these charts throughout the certification course. That means they have an understanding of when a person is drunk based upon the amount of alcohol they consume.
There are telltale signs to alert servers to cut people off. While this is not technically evidence, it guides witness testimony. This ties back to their TABC training.
Bars across Texas boast “Texas-sized” drinks. When they serve these unusually large or strong drinks, it has the potential to lead to rapid intoxication. This makes it a dubious practice concerning their liquor liability.
Returning to the TABC charts, the BAC charts use standard serving sizes. When bars move away from this practice, it makes it more difficult for patrons and servers to track intoxication.
When people see the drunk driver before they leave the bar or restaurant, they provide valuable information about how they behaved, what they consumed, etc.
Generally speaking, juries view the police as objective witnesses. When an accident occurs, their report and testimony show the ties between alcohol consumption and behavior.
At times, Houston dram shop lawyers work with expert witnesses to help juries understand confusing forensic science. Often, medical experts help juries understand the effects of alcohol over time.
Based on the number of drinks serve, they help to show how unlikely it is that a reasonable person would not believe they were overserving a clearly drunk person. For example, a toxicologist is an expert in the science of intoxication. They help juries understand the state of an impaired driver at the time the bartender served their last drink.
As we suggested earlier, social media is a source of evidence. People want to show their friends their good times.
Occasionally, this means there’s clear evidence with signs of intoxication. With this, it’s hard for a bar or restaurant to argue that the server wasn’t aware of the clear intoxication. This is especially true when the posts establish a timeline of their intoxication.
When evidence proves useful for criminal prosecution of the driver whose negligence caused your accident, we share it with the authorities. If this leads to charges, the criminal record helps to serve as evidence of the establishment’s liability as well.
By no means is this list exhaustive. Houston dram shop lawyers are valuable in these cases because they know how to uncover relevant, reliable evidence. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your options with an experienced dram shop attorney.
Dram Shop Liability refers to the legal liability that a commercial seller of alcohol carries for serving alcohol to anyone who is obviously intoxicated. “Dram” refers to the measurement of alcohol, which is why they call them “Dram Shop Acts.”
States enact dram shop laws to place a higher burden on businesses that profit from the sale of alcohol.
Ideally, this means they take precautions as they serve their patrons to prevent drunk driving accidents. Unfortunately, many establishments place profit above liability and safety.
When a drunk driver injures you or damages your property, you have rights. Oftentimes, recovery is an expensive process that drains your family of its energy and finances. If someone else’s negligence causes you harm, let our advocates help you hold them accountable. As Houston dram shop lawyers, we explore as many avenues for compensation as possible in order to maximize your settlement.
Our goal is to help you recover. Let our team focus on protecting your future as you focus on healing. Together, we can build a better tomorrow for you and your family. Schedule a free consultation and case evaluation today to start your fight.