Personal injury Library

What Are My Rights in a Texas Dram Shop Case?

  • Last Updated: August 10th, 2023
  • By: Mike Grossman
  • Dram Shop

Just about everyone would agree that drunk drivers should be held accountable for any damage they cause behind the wheel. Some may feel the buck stops there; however, Texas has dram shop laws that allow victims of drunk driving accidents to hold bars and other alcohol vendors responsible for over-serving their customers. With that in mind, some people may wonder: "What are my rights in a Texas dram shop case?"

Answer: The victim of a Texas DUI accident has the right to seek compensation from the person who harmed them, as well as the right to seek compensation from any business that over-served alcohol to the drunk driver.

The Rule

Providing, selling, or serving an alcoholic beverage may be made the basis of a statutory cause of action under this chapter and may be made the basis of a revocation proceeding. . . .upon proof that:
(1) at the time the provision occurred it was apparent to the provider that the individual being sold, served, or provided with an alcoholic beverage was obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others; and
(2) the intoxication of the recipient of the alcoholic beverage was a proximate cause of the damages suffered.

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, Title 1 Sec. 2.02

In a nutshell, the above statute says that the victim of a drunk driving accident can sue an alcohol provider for their role in the accident if it can be shown that the alcohol provider knew the customer was obviously intoxicated and continued to serve them anyway.

What Does "Obviously Intoxicated" Mean?

Key to Texas dram shop law is the concept of obvious intoxication. Whether you've heard the specific term or not, you may have witnessed it when someone at a bar or restaurant was overly loud, slurring their speech, or having trouble staying on their feet. Despite those signs the person likely had too much alcohol already, a bartender or server brought them another drink—then another, and another.

The thing is, those staff members are supposed to be trained to recognize the signs of intoxication long before they're obvious to everyone else. If they see those signs, the law says they have to refuse further sale or service of alcohol to the impaired customer. Continuing to refill that person's glass is a violation of Texas dram shop law, and if the customer causes or suffers harm while under the influence the business may be liable for the damage he does.

Grossman Law Offices Can Help

It's important to realize that dram shop cases can be highly complex, and the outcome can depend on various factors, like the specifics of the accident and the quality of the presented evidence. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney who is familiar with Texas dram shop laws is essential to ensure your rights are protected and you have the best chance of obtaining fair compensation.

The Texas dram shop attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have handled more dram shop cases than any other firm in the state. They make sure drunk drivers pay for their poor choices, but they also make sure that bars and restaurants who willingly and illegally over-serve their customers face serious consequences. If you were injured or lost a loved one in an accident with an intoxicated driver, call Grossman Law today for a free and confidential consultation.

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