Dram shop laws, also known as social host liability laws, hold alcohol providers partially responsible for the actions of drunken recipients in certain situations. Dram shop laws for Texas are outlined in the Alcoholic Beverage Code.
In Texas law, there are two outstanding actions for which an alcohol provider can be held responsible:
Providing alcohol to an unrelated minor
Providing alcohol to an individual already obviously drunk
Providing Alcohol to an Unrelated Minor
Texas law permits a minor to drink under direct, judicious parental supervision. However, unrelated adults who provide alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 face criminal charges – up to $4,000 in fines, up to a year in jail, or both. On top of that, the adult provider may also be held liable if an intoxicated minor’s actions result in a civil suit (for example, a fight where someone is injured or a drunk driving accident) or a criminal offense.
Providing Alcohol to an Individual Already Obviously Drunk
Establishments that over-serve drunk customers, those identifiably a danger to themselves or others, can be sued if an intoxicated person causes damage; however, their intoxicated state must be traceable to the negligent establishment.
For instance, if a bar continues to serve a visibly drunk patron who later injures someone in a drunk driving accident, the bar could be liable under Texas dram shop laws. However, an establishment would not be held responsible for damages caused by a woman who goes to their bar, has a drink, goes home, and then drinks more there. Minors can also sue an establishment for damages incurred if they were sold alcohol and were intoxicated at the time of the sale.
Have you been affected?
Alcohol providers have a responsibility to refuse selling alcohol to minors and customers dangerously drunk. If you have been injured due to the actions of an intoxicated person, call Wyatt Law Firm today at (210) 340-5550 for a free case review.
If you have been affected or a loved one has been killed due to a drunk driving accident, call our firm or submit a confidential contact form via our website. We work on a contingency fee policy, so you only pay if we win. At Wyatt Law Firm, our experienced personal injury and drunk driving accident attorneys are here to help you. We fight for justice and maximum compensation for our clients. Let us fight for you.