Snellings Law PLLC Attorneys are Personal Injury Trial Attorneys
Dram Shop Lawyers
Dram Shop Accidents
We always hear about tragic drunk driving crashes. Someone who has too much to drink and then drives home recklessly and hurts someone. We read these stories and blame the drunk driver for their irresponsible behavior – and rightly so. Has it ever crossed your mind that the bar or restaurant that provided the alcohol could also be held responsible? Well, there is an area of tort law where these “dram shops” can be held responsible.
Dram shop law is tricky territory, and not everyone knows it exists, or what “dram shop” means. A dram was a measurement used by old taverns to serve alcohol, but the law applies to liability of public establishments that serve alcohol to obviously intoxicated or underage patrons that go on to injure themselves or others. That’s right – the intoxicated person may have a claim against the bar or restaurant as well. Dram shop lawyers understand this tricky territory and the urgency of gathering evidence immediately.
How do injuries occur by dram shop?
The typical method of injury we see in dram shop actions is from drunk driving. Drunk driving causes slower reaction times which can cause catastrophic accidents. A collision with another vehicle at high speeds can cause permanent traumatic brain injury or other serious injuries from impact alone. Debris injuries are also common in catastrophic accidents- shrapnel can cause life changing injuries in seconds.
In Texas, the law states the plaintiff must prove the place of sale sold the at-fault party alcohol when they were obviously intoxicated to the point that they were a danger to themselves or others. This can be the most difficult part of the claim. Oftentimes, the dram shop attorney will have to prove the at-fault party’s intoxication through circumstantial evidence – witnesses, bar tabs, video, TABC investigation, etc. Obviously, this means time is of the essence.
Texas also doesn’t have strict liability laws, meaning the establishment does not have to pay the full bill every time. Instead, the jury will decide a proportion of responsibility for the bar or establishment. For example, the jury may find a bar 75% responsible for an accident, while the jury believes the plaintiff should be responsible for the other 25% for driving while intoxicated.
Dram Shop Cases: How Personal Injury Lawyers can Help
Social host liability falls close to dram shop law, but is not the same. Social host liability is when someone provides alcohol to someone else without charging them a fee like a bar. Texas typically does not hold a social host responsible for serving alcohol to their family and friends at their home if one of their guests then becomes intoxicated and injures someone – with one exception, if the social host is serving minors alcohol.
A dram shop case is never an easy one to prosecute. Your personal injury attorney will have to thoroughly investigate the case and align all the evidence. Even then, there are statutes that provide certain protections for the dram shop establishments that must be carefully navigated. Without an attorney experienced in dram shops claims, it is easy to walk into several different traps that would exclude the bars and restaurants from liability.
Most personal injury firms, including Snellings Law, operate on a contingency fee basis- meaning you don’t have to pay anything up front. Instead, the firm takes a final percentage of the settlement. This is helpful because after a major accident it is likely you do not have the funds to spend on attorney’s fees.
As dram shop lawyers, they collect all of the evidence and interview witnesses as quickly as possible. Searching through reports and making phone calls that go along with a dram shop case. Personal injury attorneys will also present your case in the court room if need be, they are there to be your personal advocate and help you present your case in the best possible way due to their extensive knowledge of the law.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence involving drunk driving, look into hiring a personal injury attorney. Don’t try to face experienced insurance defense adjusters and attorneys alone.
If you would like to learn more see our Dram Shop page here.
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At Snellings Law PLLC, our practice focuses solely on personal injury claims. We defend our clients from insurance companies and adjusters trying to limit their claims daily. We have successfully handled cases of all sizes, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, amputation, and wrongful death claims. If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, call Snellings Law PLLC to set up your free appointment today.