Did you know that if a drunk driver injures you in a crash, you may be able to seek compensation from more than the drunk driver and their insurance company (if they have insurance)? Depending on the circumstances, Texas’ personal injury law may let you file a lawsuit against the bar, restaurant, or party host that overserved the driver who hit you.
Dram shop liability vs. liquor liability
Other states have a similar statute called a “dram shop law.” In Texas, this law is known as liquor liability, but it is essentially the same thing. If a business or individual provides, serves or sells alcohol to someone, and:
- The recipient of the alcohol was obviously intoxicated to the point that he was a danger to himself and others, and
- The recipient’s intoxication was the proximate cause of your injuries,
Then you have the right to seek compensation from the alcohol provider. In this case, “proximate cause” means that serving alcohol to the intoxicated person started a chain of events that led to the intoxicated person injuring you with their vehicle.
A liquor liability scenario
For example, say a man goes to a bar and drinks four cocktails in two hours. By the time he orders the fourth drink, he is slurring his words and his eyes are barely open, but the bartender serves him the drink anyway. The man pays for his drinks, gets off his barstool, and staggers to the door; the bartender does not offer to call him a cab or otherwise try to stop the customer from driving drunk.
A short time later, the drunk driver’s car drifts onto the shoulder of the highway and overcorrects, crashing into another vehicle and giving the other driver severe injuries.
As you can see, the bartender’s decision to overserve the drunk driver led to the collision and the victim getting badly hurt.
Know what your rights are after an auto accident with a drunk driver
Proving liquor liability can be challenging. Your personal injury attorney will explore all available options for compensating you for your injuries, and explain those options to you.