How eye witness testimony is used in a Texas dram shop case.
If you're pursuing compensation from a negligent drinking establishment under Texas dram shop laws - after being injured or having a loved one killed in an accident by a drunken driver - then you're going to need to be able to prove the bar or restaurant ignored its duties to serve the patron responsibly.
Drinking establishments are forbidden to sell alcohol to people who are past the point of intoxication, and also, are compelled to keep an eye out for customers who have become too intoxicated, stopping service when those customers do become drunk. Those establishments who ignore these duties can be held liable for people who are injured or killed in accidents with drunken drivers they over-serve.
This is all under an area of Texas statute known as dram shop law. To actually prove your case after being injured or losing a loved one in an accident with a drunken driver, however, you will need to be able to prove your right to compensation.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- How can an eyewitness testimony impact my dram shop case?
- Can a lawyer track down other people who were at the bar the night of my accident?
- If there was a passenger in the drunk driver's car, can they testify?
Eye Witness Accounts are Critical
To be able to successfully seek compensation from a bar or restaurant that negligently over-served an intoxicated driver who did you harm, you must prove that the drinking establishment served enough alcohol to the driver to have gotten him or her drunk and that the drunken driver was displaying enough outward signs of obvious intoxication that a reasonable server should have been able to detect he or she was drunk. These signs of drunkenness can include slurred speech, loss of coordination, dramatic mood swings, and loss of control of bodily functions, just to name a few.
While the first stipulation can often be proven by consulting credit or debit card records for the driver or sales receipts from the drinking establishment, the second requirement will need some form of first-person corroboration, which means you're going to need witnesses for your case. Common witnesses who can be called upon to testify in dram shop cases include:
- Companions of the Drunken Driver - While some hardcore alcoholics drink by themselves, most people like to drink socially. As a result, when drunk drivers are over-served by bars or restaurants, there are often friends with them who can attest to just how intoxicated the drunken driver appeared to be before he or she left the drinking establishment. An experienced lawyer can find these people by consulting phone records and social network pages. When most people go out drinking with friends, they make plans, and that means calling, texting, or using Facebook beforehand. Our attorneys can track these people down and get an honest account of just how intoxicated their friend appeared to be.
- Other Bar Patrons - Many bars and restaurants have regular customers. While a friend of the drunken driver may appeared to be biased, the testimony of another patron carries far more cache in court, for he or she has no reason to side with the victim of the accident or the drunken driver over the bar. In many cases, our attorneys have found that drunken drivers were more than just a little obviously intoxicated before they left the bar, and many of their behavior is so unorthodox that it leaves an impression with the other patrons in the establishment. In addition, regular bar patrons may be able to help establish that the drinking establishment or serve makes a habit of violating TABC regulations by regularly continuing to serve patrons who are blatantly intoxicated.
- Witnesses to the Accident - Oftentimes innocent bystanders observe the intoxicated behavior either before or after the accident. Nowadays, virtually everyone has a cell phone, and when motorists see someone driving drunk, they often call in the behavior to 911. If the apparently drunken driver then gets into a wreck, these people can reinforce the notion that the driver was obviously intoxicated. After all, their drunken driving was noticeable, or no call would have been made. In other instances, witnesses may be at the scene after the accident and observe the driver either stinking of alcohol or acting in ways that only an intoxicated person would. These eye witnesses could include police officers who responded to the accident and arrested the drunken driver.
Call the Texas Dram Shop Attorneys at Grossman Law Offices
In order to find the eyewitnesses that you will need to prove a drinking establishment over-served the driver who injured you or killed your loved one, you're going to need to act quickly to find an experienced and competent attorney to conduct your investigation. Particularly when it comes to finding patrons of the bar, an attorney needs to act fast. Moreover, when it comes to people who drink, your lawyer needs to act quickly to get their statements on record before they begin to forget what happened. Alcohol consumption affects memory loss.
With 25 years of experience, our dram shop lawyers at Grossman Law Offices can help you find the eye witnesses you need to prove your personal injury or wrongful death claim against a bar or restaurant. If you'd like to find out how we can help, call us any time for a free consultation at (855) 326-0000 (toll free).
Other articles about Texas dram shop cases that may be helpful: