Understanding Dram Shop Laws

Were you injured by a drunk driver?  If so, call the Law Firm of Roger "Rocky" Walton, P.C. now at (817) 429-4299 or toll-free at (888) 762-5988. We offer a free consultation in Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth and Mansfield, Texas.

Firefighters at the scene of a car crashIf a driver has a .08 blood alcohol or more, the driver is considered intoxicated in Texas. If the driver does not have the normal physical and mental faculties due to consumption of alcohol or drugs, that person is intoxicated regardless of the test results and even if there is no test done. If a driver is driving while intoxicated, and the intoxication is a proximate cause of the damages, the driver can also be responsible for punitive or exemplary damages, as well. These damages are to punish and are in addition to the usual damages. The driver's liability insurance is usually required to pay these damages to the extent of the policy.

If the intoxicated person had been sold, served, or furnished alcohol at an establishment that has a license to sell alcohol for consumption, at a time when the individual appeared to be obviously intoxicated and a danger to himself and others, the establishment can also be liable. No punitive damages can be assessed against the establishment (Dram Shop) under current Texas law, but other appropriate damages can awarded.

When we have a Dram Shop case, we ordinarily do not want to settle the claim against the drunk before we settle against the bar or restaurant.  In that way, the jury is angry with the driver and will pour on the damages.  However, the liability will be apportioned between the drunk and the bar and assign a % to each.  The jury will normally assign most of the negligence to the drunk.  This is not good in the usual case of when the insurance coverage of the bar is greater than the coverage on the drunk.

The personal injury information offered and contained herein, regarding personal injury statutes and claimants' rights is general in scope. No attorney client relationship with our attorneys is hereby formed nor is the information herein intended as formal legal advice.