Personal injury lawsuits that involve alcohol aren’t as straightforward as many people think. It may seem like an intoxicated person is the only person or party with potential liability in a drunk driving accident lawsuit, but that isn’t always true. Dram shop laws are one such example when a social host or a bar or restaurant may also be liable for injuries caused by a drunk driver, if they had served that person alcohol to a negligent extent.
What Are Dram Shop Laws?
In about 30 states, dram shop laws act as a way of holding social hosts or establishments (bars, restaurants, speakeasies, etc.) accountable for serving an excessive amount of alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated. Dram shop laws were enacted in most states after the end of Prohibition in 1932.
The theory behind dram shop laws is that serving an unreasonable amount of alcohol to someone may be a “proximate cause” to any damages the intoxicated person causes after leaving the establishment. In other words, if the host or establishment didn’t serve as much alcohol to the person who caused the collision, the damages wouldn’t have occured or been as severe.
As a plaintiff in Texas, you will generally be responsible for proving two things:
1) The host or establishment served alcohol to someone who was already intoxicated. This is also why many bars and restaurants will “cut off” patrons who’ve had too much to drink.
2) If the host or establishment “cut off” alcohol to the person, damages would have been avoided or not have been as severe.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all cases are the same. For example, if a party host served alcohol to a minor, dram shop laws may still be used to seek compensation from that host, but if the party host was the minor’s parent or legal guardian dram shop law may not apply.
If You’ve Been Injured
Being injured by another’s negligence is often debilitating and disorientating. You may be wondering what to do next, and fortunately there are places to turn for help.
An experienced personal injury lawyer with years of experience will know that your top priority is to recover. To expedite the process of building your case, you should compose a portfolio of all the evidence relating to your case. This means compiling medical records, bills, time lost from work, photos from the time of your injury, insurance information, witness contact information, and anything else you can think of. You should also consider keeping a journal of your experiences relating to your injuries and medical treatment, as this could be used as evidence of psychological damages later in your case.
Personal injury lawyers are paid on contingency, which means they don’t charge you up front and usually give free consultations. After you’ve handed over whatever information you can about your case, your lawyer will take care of the legal “heavy lifting.” Personal injury lawyers have teams of experts and investigators available to build the best case to represent your interests.
Furthermore, your lawyer will be able to answer important questions you have like what seeking compensation will look like, and what amount would be appropriate for a settlement. A responsible lawyer will keep your best interests in mind, and won’t be afraid to fight for your rights in court if necessary.
Related article – http://dallaslawfirms.org/texas-alcohol-laws/