What is Dram Shop Liability?

A dram shop injury claim seeks to hold the seller of alcohol (Bars) legally responsible for furnishing alcohol to an individual who goes on to cause an alcohol-related injury. Texas dram shop law states that an alcohol provider can be civilly liable for serving beverages to an individual who is obviously intoxicated and poses a hazard to him/herself or others if the customer’s intoxication was the cause of another person’s injuries or even their own. Dram shop liability means an alcohol seller can be held accountable for a DUI accident if it provided the at-fault party with the alcohol that caused intoxication.

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What Establishments Can Be Held Responsible?

Texas’ dram shop law defines an alcohol provider as anyone who sells or serves alcoholic beverages using an alcohol license or permit. This broad definition covers just about anyone who sells or serves alcohol to another person whose intoxication causes injuries. This can include bars, restaurants, nightclubs, liquor stores, and individuals.

Does Dram Shop Liability Relate to Car Accidents?

Dram shop laws in Texas do not only relate to drunk driving auto accidents. A dram shop could also be vicariously liable for alcohol-related assaults, sex crimes, acts of violence, property damage, vandalism and other crimes or acts of negligence an intoxicated person commits if the dram shop furnished the alcohol to the individual.

How Will Negligence Be Proven in My Dram Shop Case?

Drinking establishments may be held liable for an injury caused by a customer if:

  • The alcohol was sold or given to a minor under age 18, or
  • The alcohol was sold to an obviously intoxicated person who posed a clear danger to themselves or others, and
  • The intoxication was a direct cause of the injuries suffered.
There is a safe harbor provision written into the law that protects bar owners in certain circumstances. When pursuing a dram shop claim it is extremely important that your attorney fully understands and knows how to work around the safe harbor provisions.
The experienced dram shop attorneys at Parker Law Firm will know what types of documentation and evidence will be necessary to be successful with your claim. Let's look at a few kinds of evidence that help prove negligence:

Police Statements/Reports

We can gather statements from the police officers present as well as the official reports and investigations including those conducted by the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission. 

Bar Records

We'll look through the records the bar kept from the day of the incident to see what they sold the defendant, look at the time frame and how much was sold.

Eye-Witness Testimony

Witness testimonies are crucial. We will get the statements of bar employees and other patrons that were present at the same time.

Training Records

TABC guidelines must be followed by an establishment that serves alcohol regarding the training of servers. We'll look to see if there is proof of training and if the establishment followed through with enforcing those guidelines.Parker Law Firm

Who Can Bring a Dram Shop Lawsuit?

There is a wide range of people that bring a dram shop lawsuit including:

  • Other drivers, passengers or pedestrians injured by the intoxicated driver
  • Passengers in the intoxicated driver’s car
  • The drunk driver themselves
The viability of any claim is very fact specific and it is imperative that if you or a loved one has been seriously injured or even killed as a result of a drunk driving crash that you hire a lawyer that is experienced in the area of dram shop liability. These cases are hyper technical and you don’t want to trust just any lawyer to handle your claim.
Consider reading some of our dramp shop case results here.

Why Should I Call Parker Law Firm to Handle My Dram Shop Case?

After many personal injury accidents, responsible parties try to shirk liability and the injured suffers as a result. Most of the time when a drunk injures someone after being overserved they will have a very limited amount of insurance leaving the injured party totally undercompensated. That is why it is important to evaluate the liability of the dram shop.  At Parker Law Firm, we have represented numerous individuals and families whose loved ones have been seriously injured or killed by the conduct of an intoxicated person. We fully understand the law surrounding dram shop lawsuits and have successfully prosecuted numerous claims. Brad Parker is board certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
You deserve to be fully compensated for your loss – our goal is to help you obtain exactly that. Call our office at 817.318.8022 or complete the contact form on our website to set up a consultation today and learn more us and whether we are the right lawyers for you.


W. Bradley Parker
Protecting the rights of North Texas personal injury victims since 1985.