Q: Can a bar be held liable for a drunk driving accident caused by a customer?
Yes, a bar may be civilly liable for serving alcohol to a customer under limited circumstances. Drunk drivers are responsible for the accidents they cause, which may injure or kill another person. In Texas, third parties may also be held liable under certain conditions.
Since bars make money through the sale of alcoholic beverages, they have an incentive to sell as much alcohol as possible. Therefore, they may be held partially responsible for any accidents that result from serving an intoxicated patron.
Dram Shop Liability
There are laws in Texas prohibiting bars, referred to as dram shops, from over-serving alcohol to patrons. Failure to abide by these regulations may result in citation by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. However, a bar in Texas may be sued only when the establishment:
- Serves any quantity of alcohol to a minor.
- Continues to serve alcohol to an obviously intoxicated adult. This means staff members knew, or should have known, that the customer was drunk but served them anyway.
If a bar in Texas commits either of these offenses, and if anyone is injured as a result, the bar may be held liable in a dram shop lawsuit.
Dram Shop Lawsuits
Under the Texas Proportionate Responsibility Act, multiple defendants may be held liable for injuries resulting from a drunk driving collision. This means both the intoxicated driver and the bar serving alcohol to the motorist may share responsibility for the accident in the event of a lawsuit.
This litigation can be extremely complex, requiring the expertise of an experienced vehicle accident attorney to secure compensation. To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.