Hurt in Houston- Drunk Driver Dram Shop Claims

A drunk driver can rip apart your life. They can severely injure or kill people in car accidents. Families suffer. Victims may be unable to work. Medical bills can be huge. The changes can be overwhelming.

It is easy to blame the drunk driver. They chose to drink and drive. They deserve the blame for what they did to you. But, have you ever done something stupid and irresponsible because you were drunk? For most adults, the answer is yes. At some point, a drunk person’s decision-making ability falters. If they are drinking in public, someone should refuse to serve them.

That is why Texas has a dram shop law. The Texas Dram Shop Act recognizes that other people can contribute to a drunk driving accident. It lets victims of drunk driving accidents bring claims against commercial establishments that negligently over-serve drunk drivers.

Texas Dram Shop Act

The Texas Dram Shop Act lets victims and their families sue

  • Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Clubs
  • Other establishments that serve alcohol

It does not let you sue social hosts. Social hosts are friends and family hosting strictly social, non-commercial events. For example, if the driver got too drunk at a family bbq, you cannot sue the host under the Texas Dram Shop Act.

Drunk Driver Accident Lawyer Houston
Drunk Driver Accident Lawyer Houston

Standing

You must have standing to bring a claim under the Texas Dram Shop Act. Standing is a legal word that means you have the right to sue under the law. Generally, to have standing, a person needs to be injured by someone’s actions. The Texas Dram Shop Act limits standing to

  • Victims of drunk drivers
  • Drunk drivers
  • Immediate family members of people killed in drunk driving accidents

Standing is just the first hurdle. You also have to prove

  • The commercial establishment overserved an “obviously intoxicated” person.
  • The person was the driver who caused the accident.
  • The accident caused an injury or death.
Standing

You must have standing to bring a claim under the Texas Dram Shop Act. Standing is a legal word that means you have the right to sue under the law. Generally, to have standing, a person needs to be injured by someone’s actions. The Texas Dram Shop Act limits standing to

  • Victims of drunk drivers
  • Drunk drivers
  • Immediate family members of people killed in drunk driving accidents

Standing is just the first hurdle. You also have to prove

  • The commercial establishment overserved an “obviously intoxicated” person.
  • The person was the driver who caused the accident.
  • The accident caused an injury or death.
  • Speeding
  • Passed Out
  • Fail to slow down

If You Are the Drunk Driver

Drunk drivers can file Texas Dram Shop Act injury claims. If a drunk driver causes a wreck and injures himself, they have a first-party dram shop claim.

If A Drunk Driver Injures You

Anyone injured by a negligently over-served drunk driver could bring a third-party dram shop claim. It is not enough to be in an accident. You must have injuries.

If A Loved One Is Severely Injured or Killed By a Drunk Driver

There are two types of claims that loved ones can bring. The first is wrongful death, which you can bring if a drunk driver kills an immediate family member.

The second is a loss of consortium claim. Loss of consortium claim depends on the idea that the person’s injuries prevent them from contributing to the household in the same way they could before the accident.

Some things that support the loss of consortium claims include are

  • No longer able to work
  • No longer able to do housework
  • No longer able to have sex

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Case?

You must be an immediate family member to bring a wrongful death case. That includes

  • Spouses- You must be a current spouse, not an ex. You must be married, not just partners. Common law spouses and same-sex spouses count. 
  • Children- Natural and adopted children can bring wrongful death suits. Stepchildren cannot, even if the deceased acted as a parent.
  • Parents- Natural and adoptive parents can bring wrongful death suits. Stepparents cannot, even if they acted as a parent to the deceased.

Proving Liability in a Texas Dram Shop Act Claim

The bar or other establishment has to be negligent. They must serve an obviously intoxicated person. We must be able to prove that happened. We must prove that

  • The driver was obviously intoxicated
  • The bar negligently served them

We do not have to prove that the bar knew the driver would drive. The law is that they are not supposed to serve obviously intoxicated people.

Types of Proof That Can Help Establish a Claim

Various types of evidence can help us prove a Dram Shop claim.

  • Receipts or bank statements
  • Witness testimony
  • Security footage

You want to file these claims as quickly as possible because the evidence is more challenging to gather the further away in time you are from the accident.

Get Started Now

Proving a Texas Dram Shop Act claim involves more than establishing a drunk driving case. We offer free no-obligation evaluations to help you determine whether you have a dram shop claim. Contact us today to get started.

The Salazar Law Firm | Rollover Accident Lawyers
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