Luke Dow Law Firm

Are Bars Liable for Car Wrecks If They Over-Serve Patrons? Austin Injury Attorney Explains

By Luke Dow on December 28, 2015

In Texas, a “dram shop” is any establishment that sells alcohol to patrons. These businesses may not serve alcohol to anyone who shows signs of intoxication and may endanger themselves or others after leaving.

Austin Personal injury Lawyer Luke Dow

If you were in an accident with a person who was over-served at a bar, then you may have grounds for a civil lawsuit. However, you will have to provide evidence that the establishment continued to serve alcohol to an obviously and visibly intoxicated customer, and you will have to show that your injury was the direct result of that person’s intoxication.

If the accident happened in Texas, then an Austin injury attorney from the Luke Dow Law Firm may be able to help. Mr. Dow is board-certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Call 512-518-4104 today to schedule a consultation.

Until then, read on to learn two facts about dram shop liability in Texas:

  1. Dram shops may be liable for accidents that result from over-serving patrons.
The Dram Shop Act falls under the Alcoholic Beverage Code. It makes dram shops responsible for selling alcohol to obviously drunk people, who then go on to cause catastrophic car accidents.

The Dram Shop Act also contains provisions for minors. It is illegal to serve alcohol to minors. If a minor buys alcohol and then causes a collision, then he or she can sue the dram shop for damages. If you were injured by an intoxicated minor who purchased the alcohol from a dram shop, then the establishment may be liable for your injuries.

  1. Texas’s Dram Shop Act does not include strict liability.
Most states use strict liability against dram shops, meaning that they hold establishments entirely accountable for all applicable injuries. In Texas, though, just because an intoxicated driver caused a car accident does not mean that the dram shop is liable for damages.

If a dram shop has a legal license to sell alcohol, then Texas law may only hold it accountable for a percentage of liability. Juries typically assign portions of liability to all parties involved. Specifically, drams shops are only liable in Texas if there is enough evidence to prove that they were at least 50 percent responsible for the incident. This makes drivers partially liable when they choose to drink before driving.

If someone leaves a drinking establishment, such as a club or pub, and causes an accident that injures you, then you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the dram shop. If you were the drunk driver, then you also may be able to claim damages against the dram shop.

An Austin car wreck lawyer can evaluate your case to determine if the dram shop may have been liable for the accident. Call the Luke Dow Law Firm at 512-518-4104 to schedule a consultation, or visit to learn more about car accident lawsuits in Texas.



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