In the past, only intoxicated drivers were liable for a victim's injuries from DWI accidents. Today, many states -- including Texas -- have laws that hold the providers of alcohol, such as bars, liquor stores and restaurants, liable for such injuries. Such laws are commonly referred to as "dram shop" laws and are aimed primarily at commercial establishments.
As a general rule, an alcohol provider may be held liable for furnishing alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person who then gets into an accident and causes injuries. The plaintiff's lawsuit may involve:
- Proving that alcohol continued to be provided to a person who is obviously already intoxicated
- Witnesses to attest to how many drinks the person had
- Proving that the additional drinks actually caused the accident and injuries
- Expert testimony as to the varying levels of alcohol in the driver's blood
There may be other relevant circumstances, such as the fact that the intoxicated person went to several bars or took illegal drugs. Most courts require proof that the intoxicated person caused the injury, but it doesn't necessarily have to be the only cause of the injury.
Can an employer be liable for injuries caused by an employee who has been drinking at a company function? Under Texas law, an employer typically is not responsible for any injuries to another person by an intoxicated employee unless that employee is a minor.
What about private social functions? The Texas social host law holds party hosts liable in two circumstances: (1) if the host knowingly serves alcohol to a minor; and (2) if the host provides car keys to an intoxicated guest.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, the experienced personal injury legal team at Roberts & Roberts is here to help with compassionate, aggressive representation. Please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation.