When an accident involves a drunk driver, one thing that law enforcement might try to ascertain during their investigation is where the intoxicated driver was drinking before the accident. While being able to put in the report that the driver consumed five beers and two shots of tequila can really help strengthen the criminal case, it can also help the other parties who were involved in the accident.
Texas dram shop laws are located in the Alcohol Beverage Code. These laws allow for individuals or businesses to be held liable for injuries or deaths that occur when someone over 18 years old is overserved alcohol and allowed to drive.
Not only can the victim of a drunk driving accident sue the intoxicated driver, but he or she may also be able to sue the bar, restaurant or other business that served, sold or provided alcohol to an at-fault driver who was already intoxicated. In addition, the servers, clerks and other personnel may also be held liable.
The term “dram shop” comes from England in the 18th century. Establishments there during that time sold gin by the “dram” or by the spoonful. Proving liability through dram shop laws, however, can be difficult.
Your attorney may be able to call witnesses from the bar or restaurant where the at-fault driver was served or subpoena video from where the alcohol was sold. Your attorney can evaluate the evidence and determine the legal options that victims or their families have for pursuing compensation for a drunk driving accident. This can help considerably in covering medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
Source: FindLaw, “Dram Shop Laws,” accessed Oct. 12, 2015