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Who can file a dram shop lawsuit in Texas?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car crashes are one of the more common reasons that people file personal injury lawsuits. If someone gets hurt in a crash caused by a drunk driver, they might sue that impaired motorist. After fatal crashes, family members of the deceased could initiate a wrongful death lawsuit to recoup the financial impact the tragedy has had on the family.

People’s first instinct is usually to hold the drunk driver directly accountable for the wreck, and that is reasonable. People want closure, and few things lead to a sense of vindication better than generating significant consequences for the individual who directly caused their family tragedy or injuries.

Occasionally, those hurt or left grieving by a drunk driving crash in Texas can file a dram shop claim against a business. When are dram shop lawsuits an option after a Texas collision?

When a business broke state liquor laws

Dram shop lawsuits are a way of holding businesses accountable for unsafe practices when serving liquor to the public. The law in Texas requires that businesses obtain licenses to serve alcohol to patrons. There are restrictions on alcohol service intended to reduce the overall harm associated with alcohol consumption. People have to be at least 21 years of age to legally drink. They also cannot continue drinking in a public establishment when they are already visibly drunk.

Staff working at a bar or restaurant in Texas usually need to check state-issued identification for every patron before serving them alcohol. They also need to monitor the conduct of customers and stop serving those who have had too much to drink. The failure to do so could lead to liability for the business if that patron leaves and causes a crash.

When a collision has economic consequences

Dram shop lawsuits require a request for compensation. Plaintiffs seeking to hold the business accountable typically need to have evidence that there has been an economic impact generated by the collision. Medical bills, employment pay stubs and other evidence can help affirm the financial impact a crash has had and might continue to have in the future. Dram shop claims are valuable because they create penalties for businesses that break the law and give people access to a better source of compensation.  Businesses tend to have more assets, more income and more liability insurance than individuals.

A dram shop lawsuit can often compensate people more effectively than a lawsuit filed against the drunk driver who caused the crash. Ultimately, evaluating different options for compensation with a skilled legal team can potentially help people mitigate the massive financial impact of a drunk driving collision.