If you or a loved one is injured or killed by a drunk driver, it may also be possible to bring a lawsuit against the establishment that served the drunk driver alcohol prior to the crash. In Texas, as in many other states, bar, restaurant and business owners that sell or serve alcohol have a legal duty to ensure their staff doesn’t over-serve or sell alcohol to obviously intoxicated patrons. These “dram shop” laws also apply to social hosts who provide alcohol at parties or events.
If you suspect a person was over-served and an establishment or party host violated dram shop laws in your case, you need to raise your concerns with an experienced Conroe dram shop attorney as soon as possible. Residents in Conroe are at particularly high risk for getting injured in DWI crashes, as Montgomery County is the deadliest county for DWIs in the State of Texas.
Montgomery County DWI Statistics
- In 2009, Montgomery County had the most DWI fatalities per 100 people.
- Montgomery County is the deadliest county for DWIs in Texas.
- Montgomery County also had the most DWIs per 1000 people.
- In Montgomery County, you’re three times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle crash than by all other weapons crimes combined.
Liability of Bars and Restaurants in Drunk Driving Accidents
Under dram shop laws, bar and restaurant owners can be held liable in certain cases involving drunk drivers. It’s important to note that dram shop laws don’t absolve the drunk driver of his or her actions, and if the bar or establishment is shown to have served a minor or over-served an obviously intoxicated person, that establishment can be held liable for a portion of the damages in association with their liability in the incident.
Serving alcohol requires great care and responsibility on the part of the establishment. Under the Texas Dram Shop Act, bars and restaurants that serve alcohol agree to follow these laws in order to keep patrons and others in the community safe.
Elements of a Dram Shop Case
- Alcohol was sold or given to a minor under the age of 18, or
- The alcohol was sold to a customer who was “obviously” intoxicated to the point that he or she posed “a clear danger” to the safety of himself or herself and others, and
- The intoxication was a “proximate” or foreseeable cause of the injuries suffered.
Sale of Alcohol to Intoxicated Person
Under Texas dram shop laws, it’s illegal to sell or serve alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person. Establishments with bar tenders and servers that continue to pour drinks into visibly drunk patrons and customers can be held liable for damages.
It’s beyond irresponsible, and it puts innocent lives at risk for injury-causing and potentially fatal drunk driving accidents.
Serving a visibly intoxicated customer can endanger that person and the lives of others, and under the Texas Dram Shop Act, alcohol-selling establishments agree to serve alcohol responsibly.
What About Underage Drinking?
Dram shop laws also cover the serving of alcohol to minors. Vendors who sell alcohol to children under the age of 18 years old can be held liable for the damages incurred by accidents involving the underage drunk driver. These cases are time sensitive, and your Conroe dram shop attorney will need to begin investigative efforts to locate and attain witness statements as soon as possible after the crash.
Damages Associated With Dram Shop Cases
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, you know that the medical bills start piling up immediately. You could be out of work and in the hospital, or taking care of your injured loved one on a fulltime basis. Thankfully, it’s possible to recover compensation to cover a variety of damages associated with the drunk driving accident under dram shop laws in Texas.
Your lawyer can help you recover compensation to pay for medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, lost wages and other expenses associated with your injury. Depending upon the severity of your injury or the expected length of your recovery period, you could be out of work for months or longer. It may be possible to recover compensation for the potential of lost income earning capacity on a short term, long term or even permanent basis.
Conroe Dram Shop Attorney
If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, and you suspect that over-serving from a bar or restaurant was involved, you need to let your Conroe dram shop attorney know immediately. Equally important, if you were injured or if you lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident involving a minor who was served at a local bar, restaurant or social event in Conroe or Montgomery County, contact the Scott Law Firm at (936) 270-8100 for a free case consultation immediately.