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  6.  — When is an establishment liable for a drunk driving accident?

When is an establishment liable for a drunk driving accident?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Drunk Driving Accidents, Personal Injury

A drunk driving accident is an accident that occurs when a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and operates a vehicle in a way that causes harm to themselves or others. Drunk driving accidents can lead to catastrophic damages and devastating injuries. When you or a loved one suffers an injury from a drunk driving accident, you would, of course, seek accountability.

Although you would want to hold the driver responsible for the accident, they may not have enough resources or insurance to fully compensate you. Because of the concept known as dram shop liability, the establishment that served the driver alcohol might be liable as well. Under Texas law, an establishment that sells alcohol can be liable for damages if they continued to serve a visibly intoxicated patron and that patron later causes an accident or injury.

Proving the establishment is liable for the accident

Texas law sets a standard that the intoxication must be “obvious” at the time of service. To establish an establishment’s liability in Texas, you must collect evidence that shows the person was visibly intoxicated at the time the establishment served them more alcohol. Evidence can include any of the following:

  • Witness testimonies and statements from patrons or employees
  • Video footage from the establishment
  • Social media videos, pictures or messages
  • Receipts showing the time and amount of the alcohol purchases

You want to look for any proof of obvious intoxication, including slurred speech, poor coordination or unusual behavior.

It is a matter of accountability

You want to hold all responsible parties accountable, not just the driver. It is not even about pointing fingers. It is a matter of forcing other parties to accept responsibility for their own irresponsible actions to ensure they do not do it again. Establishments cannot continue to serve drinks to patrons who already present a clear danger to themselves without considering public safety.

Even though it is easier to coax a drunk person to buy more drinks at your bar, it is unethical. If you or your loved one suffered injuries from a drunk driving accident, you may be able to sue the bar or establishment that sold the driver the alcohol.