Though the dangers of drinking and driving are well known, alcohol-related deaths remain a problem in the state of Texas. From 2003 to 2012, more than 13,000 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in Texas. If someone has had too much to drink and injures you, multiple parties may be responsible for your damages.
What Are Dram Shop Laws?
When a person is injured because of another person’s negligence—for example, by drunk driving—that injured person is generally able to bring a claim against the at-fault party. Dram shop laws extend liability for the victim’s injuries to the businesses that serve alcohol, as well as to social hosts.
Texas’ dram shop laws state that businesses that sell alcohol may be liable for a victim’s injuries if:
- Alcohol was served to a minor under the age of 18; or
- The patron was clearly intoxicated to a point that the patron would be a danger to himself or herself, as well as others, and
- The patron’s intoxication was the cause of the victim’s injuries.
As for social hosts, injured victims may file a claim against an individual over the age of 21 who provides alcohol to someone under the age of 18 if:
- The individual over the age of 21 is not the spouse, parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the minor, and
- The individual over the age of 21 knew that he or she was serving alcohol to the minor or allowed the minor to drink alcohol on the adult’s property.
How Do I Know if the Person Who Injured Me Had Been Served Too Much Alcohol?
If you have been injured by a drunk driver or someone else who had been drinking too much, the first thing you need to do (after seeking medical treatment, of course) is to hire an experienced Texas dram shop liability attorney. Your attorney’s job is to carefully study the facts of your case and uncover all possible defendants so that legal action may be taken against them.
Your attorney will be able to talk to witnesses, police officers, and other individuals to discover if the person who caused your injuries had been served too much alcohol at a bar or restaurant.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for My Injuries?
There are deadlines that limit how long individuals have to file different types of claims. This deadline is called the statute of limitations. In Texas, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is two years.
Two years may seem like plenty of time, but it passes quickly. Gathering all of the relevant evidence in a dram shop liability case may take several months or longer—tracking down witnesses, obtaining medical records, and negotiating with insurance companies takes a significant amount of time.
In addition, the more time that passes after an accident, the more challenging it may become to prove the allegations in the claim. Witnesses may move away or may forget the details of the case, and other pieces of evidence may become difficult to obtain. Therefore, the sooner you meet with an attorney and file your claim, the better your chances are of prevailing.
Damages in a Dram Shop Liability Case
The amount of compensation available in a dram shop liability case varies depending on the circumstances of the claim. However, many injured victims are entitled to some or all of the following:
- Medical expenses
- The estimated cost of future medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of employment benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- If a death has occurred, funeral and burial expenses may be claimed by the deceased’s surviving family members. In addition, the deceased’s estimated future earnings may also be claimed.
Other damages may also be available in a dram shop liability claim in Texas.
Call Brooker Law, PLLC Today to Discuss Your Claim
The Dallas, Texas personal injury attorneys at Brooker Law, PLLC have held restaurants, bars, and other establishments accountable for the injuries they cause when they serve someone too much alcohol. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your injuries and your claim, contact or call (214) 217-0277 today.