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Dram Shop Liability


Reach Out to Dram Shop Liability Attorneys in Houston

For many decades, taverns, pubs, and saloons have provided top-quality services to their local communities as gathering places for fun. While establishments that provide alcohol to people are expected to do so responsibly. However, the sad truth is that managers and owners of these establishments often fail to carry out their responsibilities in avoiding overserving patrons.


Anytime customers drink too much alcohol, they tend to become inebriated, exposing themselves and other members of the public to danger. After all, drunk people often have their judgment compromised. The possibility of drunk driving and public misdemeanor becomes higher.


Sadly, these are not the only hazards that could arise from having someone leave a pub after drinking too much alcohol. It is even possible to get injured at the hands of drunk individuals. When this happens, it is imperative to seek legal assistance from top Houston dram shop liability lawyers at Take That To Trial will investigate to determine if you have a case against the establishment that sold the alcohol. We will help you carry out a proper investigation to figure out if you have a case against the establishment that sold the alcohol.


Who is a Dram Shop Lawyer?

A dram shop lawyer is a personal injury attorney with sufficient experience in filing a lawsuit against bars and clubs that overserved a customer whose intoxication resulted in the injury of others. At Take That To Trial, our attorneys have been winning huge dram shop settlements for more than two decades.

what is dram shop

What is Dram Shop Liability?

Dram shop liability is a legal concept that ensures that establishments are held responsible for overserving alcohol to a patron who goes on to injure another person. According to dram shop laws, responsibility is placed on establishments that serve alcohol. These laws also ensure that victims of injuries that result from the actions of drunk individuals can pursue compensation for any damages they may have suffered.


The dram law observed varies from one state to another. For instance, in Texas, the Alcoholic Beverage Code states that a provider of alcohol can be liable for actions committed by an inebriated individual if:

  • “[T]he individual being sold, served, or provided with an alcoholic beverage was obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others”

  • The person being served was a minor (under the age of 18)


Dram shop liability in the state of Texas extends both to licensed providers of alcohol such as restaurants and bars, as well as private individuals who provide alcohol in a social setting. This second category of provider is known as social host liability.


In other states in the United States, dram shop laws may not apply to social hosts, but only apply to businesses. Besides this, liability may also be established when the inebriated individual is not up to the legal drinking age. Certain states have no dram shop laws. For instance, the state of California does not hold businesses serving alcohol liable for the actions of an intoxicated patron they serve.

wh can be held

Who Can be Held Liable in a Dram Shop Case?

In the state of Texas, the dram law specifies that it is possible to hold any establishment that serves, sells, or provides alcohol to an obviously inebriated individual or a minor, especially if they cause the injury someone else suffers. This could include:

  • Restaurants

  • Hotels

  • Bars, nightclubs, pubs, taverns, etc.

  • Event centers

  • Sporting and concert venues


It is worth noting that liability is not only established for businesses. Private individuals who intentionally serve alcohol to drunk individuals or minors on premises they lease or own can be potential defendants in a dram shop liability claim 


Alcohol is a factor in many disastrous car accidents every year in Texas. People should never get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. One should know when he or she has too much to drink. And to call Uber or Lyft or designate a driver who has not been drinking.


It is not safe to drive after drinking. Those who drink and drive put everyone at risk.

Bars should make sure no one is unfit to drive leaves and drive home. Dram shop liability is part of any alcohol-serving business.


Establishing Dram Shop Liability

It is no exaggeration to stress the challenge of determining the responsibility of an establishment for contributing to a patron's intoxication. It is important to conduct a thorough and timely investigation when it comes to cases like this.


Eventually, the restaurant or bar may be held liable if your attorney can prove the following:

  • The establishment failed to put policies in place to prevent any kind of overconsumption

  • The establishment neglected to train employees to watch out for signs of intoxication

  • Employees did not receive the right training on how to manage intoxicated customers

  • The patron’s consumption was not adequately monitored

  • Employees of the establishment not checking the identity of a minor


It is even much harder to prove social host liability. After all, this almost depends completely on eyewitnesses and their testimonies being available. Besides this, it is important to conduct a thorough investigation to establish the fact that drunk patrons were overserved, as well as the quantity of alcohol they were served. 


Injuries in Dram Shop Cases in Houston

Some common types of injuries in Houston dram shop cases are introduced as follows:


This is a common form of soft tissue damage that can occur anytime a person’s neck is ‘whipped’ violently back and forth. This injury is common in car crashes. Yet, they can also occur in a fall. These types of injuries can be excruciating. Besides this, to heal completely, a considerable amount of time may be required.

Broken Bones

Besides the excruciating pain, severely broken bones may require extensive surgery, as well as prolonged recovery time. In extremely dangerous cases, fragments of bone can find their way into the bloodstream. As a result, they may come in contact with some essential organs, including the lungs or heart.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

This is another common injury that victims of dram shop liability may suffer due to intoxication. It must be stressed that severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are not without lifelong repercussions. In extreme cases, brain injuries can lead to permanent cognitive or physical impairment.

Internal Injuries

Damage to internal organs may be hard to detect sometimes. Without going for a medical checkup immediately, it can become life-threatening and may lead to very serious complications

Back and Spinal Cord Injuries

It is no strange news that the spinal cord is one of the most delicate and important parts of the body. As a result, very small damage to the spine can have the most devastating consequences, some of which include losing a range of movement, paralysis, numbness, loss of control over various physical functions, and many more.


Other back injuries, including a herniated disc or fracture, may require several months - or even some years - to recover from. Chronic pain and the inability to work follow these severe injuries.


Sometimes, very serious burns and lacerations may render victims disfigured with permanent scars.

Emotional Distress

In some cases, victims may be forced to deal with severe psychological conditions. These conditions may render them unable to enjoy life. These could range from depression and anxiety to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and insomnia. 


It may take days or weeks before some severe injuries start materializing completely. For this reason, it is dangerous to assume you are fine anytime you are injured due to someone else's intoxication. Ensure you seek medical attention and get yourself evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible.

signs of intoxic

Signs of Intoxication

Alcohol intoxication could range from mild to severe. The adverse impacts of alcohol intoxication include having judgment compromised and irrational behavior. These can increase the possibility of dangerous situations happening. For this reason, it is important to know the signs of intoxication. This helps in preventing it as much as possible.


This is one of the earliest signs of consuming too much alcohol. If a person has generally consumed about two to three drinks (as a man) or one to two drinks (as a woman) within an hour, they will become euphoric. Some early symptoms include:

  • a slower reaction time

  • an increase in chattiness and confidence

  • decreased inhibitions


For most people, this is regarded as being tipsy. At this stage, the blood alcohol content often ranges from 0.03 to 0.12 percent. It is worth noting that a blood alcohol content of 0.08% is the legal limit of intoxication across the United States. When a person drives above this limit, the person can be arrested. 


This is the stage when a man might have consumed between three to five drinks within an hour. It is during this time that a person will start experiencing emotional instability, as well as a considerable loss of coordination.


Other symptoms include:

  • Problems with vision

  • Loss of judgment and memory

  • Loss of balance

  • drowsiness


A person will seem drunk at this stage. Their blood alcohol content at this point will range from 0.09 to 0.25%.


Anytime a man consumes more than five drinks within an hour, then confusion sets in. This stage of intoxication begins with emotional outbursts, as well as a major loss of coordination. The person may not be able to stand up. This may be accompanied by staggering when walking. They will most likely be extremely confused, without a clear understanding of what is going on around them.


At this stage, intoxicated individuals are more likely to forget all that happened around them. They might even black out without necessarily losing consciousness. They may not even be able to feel any pain. As a result, they may find themselves at risk of suffering an injury.


The person's blood alcohol content at this stage is very high. It could vary between 0.18 and 0.30 percent.


At this stage, a person can no longer respond to everything that is happening around them or to them. At this point, they can no longer stand or walk. They may even pass out or lose control over all bodily functions. They may even start puking without any control.


It is even possible that they start experiencing seizures. Their skin may even start becoming pale. Their breathing may become impaired, as well as their gag reflexes. At this stage, it becomes really dangerous, and even fatal, if a person starts choking on their vomit or becomes critically injured. 


These symptoms only reflect the need for immediate medical assistance. At this stage, the blood alcohol content may vary from 0.25 to 0.4 percent.

what evidence is needed to estab

What Evidence Is Needed to Establish Dram Shop Liability?

As mentioned earlier, it can be challenging to prove obvious intoxication without the help of a competent Houston Dram Shop Liability Attorney. You also need the right evidence that can make your case stronger. At Take That To Trial, our goal is to ensure that we help our clients get the justice they seek.


We make the most of all resources at our disposal to conduct investigations that show that the defendant was inebriated. The evidence we seek will also show that the drunk individual was over-served by the establishment. Some of these include

Receipts from the bar

Receipts given to the intoxicated individual will indicate the amount of alcohol they purchased. This will also prove that the establishment kept on serving the drunk customer even after he purchased too much alcohol to get them obviously intoxicated.

Credit/debit card receipts

The credit/debit card receipts will show the amount of money that was spent on alcohol purchases. It also proves that the establishment kept allowing them to drink even though they had drunk too much.

Blood toxicology

Blood toxicology can be adopted in evaluating possible accidental or intentional overdose or poisoning. It may help in figuring out the reasons behind acute drug toxicity. This also helps in revealing the amount of alcohol in the blood. By getting this important piece of information, you can prove that the drunk individual had too much alcohol in their bloodstream.


Importance of Early Investigation

The importance of early investigation cannot be stressed enough. If you are injured by a drunk individual and you wish to pursue a compensation claim, you should do so as early as possible.


In Texas, the time limit for filing a lawsuit is two years from the date of the incident. Once the time limit has been exhausted, pursuing a compensation claim becomes impossible. For this reason, these cases are time-sensitive. Besides this, the negotiation process could take a lot of time. Then, if an agreement proves impossible to be reached, then filing a lawsuit in court is the best course of action.


All these must be done within the set time limit. Moreover, evidence can be lost or tampered with. For this reason, gathering evidence as early as possible will eliminate the possibility of this happening. At Take That To Trial, our attorneys will work tirelessly to help you gather as much evidence as you need to pursue your compensation claim.


We have a sufficient amount of resources to make this possible. Our records speak for themselves.

wat damages

What Damages are Available in a Dram Shop Claim?

If you are a victim of an injury caused by an intoxicated individual who was overserved, you are entitled to pursue compensation for damages from the guilty party. The damages can either be economic or non-economic. Some of these are discussed as follows:

Medical Expenses

These could include medical bills, which span from the time of the accident, as well as any future expenses.

  • Hospitalization

  • Emergency services

  • Surgeries

  • Doctor appointments

  • Physical therapy

  • In-home care

Lost Wages

This includes the income you would have earned if you never suffered the injury caused by a drunk individual who had been overserved. Physical limitations due to the injuries may prevent you from working. You may also include any future income or benefits you have lost due to the projected length of recovery.

Diminished Earning Capacity

Your injury may have prevented you from earning as much as you used to. If that is the case, this kind of compensation is available to you.

Property Damage

The accident may result in damage to your property. When this happens, you may include repairs or replacement of the damaged property in the accident. For instance, your car seat, mailboxes, clothing, and more.

Pain And Suffering

When you are injured by an inebriated individual, you will feel a certain amount of pain, regardless of its severity. You may even suffer if it affects your daily activities. As a result, you may seek compensation for the mental anguish and pain you suffered due to your injuries.

Punitive Damages

There are certain instances when malicious conduct may have contributed to the injuries. In this case, Texas courts may award punitive damages to a victim. This also implies that punishment is reserved for the defendant.


According to the 51 percent rule, it is possible for an accident victim to still claim damages unless his or her percentage of fault was greater than 51 percent. What this implies is that an individual who is 51 percent - or more - at fault is prohibited from suing others for compensation after a crash.


This rule ensures that your compensation could be reduced and possibly eliminated, based on whether you were also to blame. For instance, if you are awarded $200,000 but found 20% at fault, you can only recover 80% of your award, which translates to $160,000. On the other hand, if you are found to be 51% or more to blame, you cannot sue for any compensation. 


It is also worth noting that even if you reached an agreement with the establishment or social host to cover your injury claim, their insurance policies have limits. For this reason, you cannot receive beyond the policyholder’s coverage limits of insurance companies. If your damages exceed these amounts, you must pursue other options to recover the difference. 


Oftentimes, dram shop liability cases involve multiple liable parties. In this case, you may be entitled to receive a compensation claim under different insurance policies. This can then help you cover your losses completely.


Contact us at Take That To Trial

At Take That To Trial, we believe that you should never have to pay for someone else's mistakes. Intoxicated individuals often have their judgment compromised. If you find yourself injured by a drunk individual who has been overserved, you have the right to pursue a compensation claim and hold the guilty party liable.


Establishments that provides or sell alcohol are responsible for preventing their patrons from getting overserved. However, many neglect this duty and accidents happen and victims end up getting hurt. At Take That To Trial, our lawyers work to ensure that our clients who suffered such injuries get all they need for their recovery.


We are never scared of taking the fight to big companies. Our attorneys have more than 20 years of combined experience in dealing with dram shop liability cases in Houston. You should schedule a free consultation with our competent attorneys. We are available at all times and our lawyers are ready to listen to you while offering you various legal options you can explore. You can reach out to us via:




Ph: (832) 770-6100


Fax: (832) 426-5798


You can visit us at 1401 Cleburne St,


Houston, Texas 77004


We are eager to hear from you!

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