While it is a widely known fact that driving while drunk is illegal in Texas, many people do it anyway. Sadly, it is other individuals with whom they share the road who end up suffering. When a drunk driver causes an accident, the victims may end up seriously injured, or worse. The losses they or — in the event of fatality — their surviving family members experience may be significant.
Thankfully, state laws allow victims of drunk drivers to seek compensation for their losses. If you are one of the many negatively affected by the actions of a drunk driver, you may be able to file legal claims against the driver in order to seek relief. Did you know you may also file legal claims against the bar, restaurant or other commercial establishment that over-served them?
How is that possible?
Dram shop laws are in place to hold commercial establishments accountable if they fail to exercise caution when serving or selling alcohol to their patrons. Retailers and servers are not to sell or serve alcoholic beverages to individuals who are visibly intoxicated. If they do, and their guests end up causing an accident that results in injury or death, they may be partially liable. Pursuing a dram shop claim is not simple, though.
Elements needed in a dram shop case
Certain elements must be present to win a dram shop case. Every state is different, but they generally include:
- Proof the establishment in question sold alcohol to the patron
- Proof the patron caused injuries to self or others
- A link between the sale of alcohol and the patron’s intoxication
- Proof impairment directly contributed to the victim’s losses
If any of these elements do not exist, the court may dismiss a dram shop claim.
Is it worth pursuing a dram shop claim?
It might be. Every case is different. The value in pursuing such a claim is the increased compensation you might receive if your claim proves successful. Dram shop laws are quite complex, however. Gathering the evidence needed to win a dram shop claim will likely prove difficult, but it is possible in some cases.
If you or a loved one have suffered losses due to the actions of a drunk driver, know you are not alone. Know that laws are in place to protect you and help you receive the relief you need to move forward.