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Injuries Caused By Drunk Drivers: Is the bar to blame?

Injuries Caused By Drunk Drivers: Is the bar to blame?

Injuries Caused By Drunk Drivers: Is the bar to blame? 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

With respect to a restaurant or bar’s duty to protect its patrons, premises liability law unequivocally requires that property owners regularly inspect the common areas and do away with any hazards and dangerous situations. However, what is a bar owner’s duty to protect unsuspecting third parties in the event a patron leaves under the influence and injuries someone on the way home? While states differ on their take on this issue, the Texas “Dram Shop Laws” work to apply to this very situation – and bar owners might not like the answer.

The Dram Shop Law is found in Chapter 2 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, and specifically holds a bar or restaurant liable for injuries caused as a result of beverage service if: (1) it was apparent to the provider that the individual being sold, served, or provided with an alcoholic beverage was obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others; and (2) the intoxication of the recipient of the alcoholic beverage was a proximate cause of the damages suffered.

According to the allegations in a recent Laredo-area lawsuit, the bar known as “Old No. 2” met the criteria described above – resulting in the tragic death of a man killed at the hands of a drunk driver. According to the lawsuit, the driver was overserved at the establishment, and proceeding to run a red light on the way home – at which the victim was stopped, awaiting the light to turn green. The driver was not only charged with vehicular manslaughter, but is also facing possible million-dollar liability. Also named in the lawsuit are the restaurant as a business entity, and two servers who were working on the night in question.

In order for the victim’s surviving widow to succeed in her lawsuit, she will have to prove that – at the time of service – the defendant was obviously intoxicated, which may require proof of drinking earlier in the evening, surveillance footage, or eyewitness testimony.

Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today!

If you were recently injured and would like to discuss your options under Texas law, please contact Chandler Mathis Zivley today: 1-877-739-7744.