Articles Tagged with dram shop

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One person died and one was injured in a crash involving a disabled vehicle in Arlington Wednesday night, police say.

Two vehicles crashed about 8 p.m. on southbound U.S. Highway 287 and westbound Interstate 20.

Police said Richard Spencer, 58, of Arlington, died in the crash.

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Dram-Shop43 states, including Texas, have laws that impose a duty on bars and restaurants not to serve intoxicated patrons alcohol, and if they do, then the statute provides a means for injured individuals to sue the liquor licensee for their own negligence. The law is very good for a lot of reasons.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the reasons why dram shop laws are so prevalent, you may be wondering, “why should the bar be liable for the actions of their patrons? That is not fair?” Well, let me ask you this: is it fair that the injured party will likely not have enough money from the drunk driver’s insurance policy to cover their medical expenses, but the bar that took the drunk driver’s money and continued to serve him or her to the point of and passed the point of intoxication gets off Scot-free? Who was in a better position to protect themselves from such liability? Why should an injured victim be unable to hold a bar accountable for over-serving a drunk patron who’s inhibitions are lowered to a point where they can no longer make good decisions and competently drive home?
Serving Alcohol is a Privilege; Not a Right
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personalinjury3-300x201The answer is simple, but to understand importance of the work they do, and the value they bring to their clients, you must understand a little more about the process of handling personal injury claims. It is no cake walk, even for experienced personal injury attorneys.

Notifying Insurance Companies and Establishing Communications Between the Parties

A personal injury attorney will notify the insurance providers of the claim for injuries and that the injured party is represented by counsel. This is true whether it is a motor vehicle accident, boating accident, commercial vehicle accident, or even slip-and-fall. These providers must be provided “notice” of the claims being made by the injured parties that were caused by their insured. In addition to notifying the at-fault parties insurer, the injured party will need to notify their own insurer of the possibility of any claims under their own UM/UIM in the event that the other party has no insurance or carries insufficient coverage to pay for the damages that have been suffered.

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Dram ShopAccording to the Dallas Morning News, a Richardson bar is being sued after a customer allegedly went on an 8-hour drinking binge and then drove home drunk. As reported, savage arrived around at W.W. Fairfields at around 6:00 pm on December 19th, and the bar continued to serve him until after 2:00 a.m. After leaving the bar, Savage crashed into a concrete dividing wall on Central expressway a little after 3:00 am, which resulted in serious injury. Savage eventually hired attorney Tom Carse to represent him in the matter, and they have filed suit seeking $1 million in damages from the bar.

When stories like this are reported, they have a tendency to cause some outrage from the public. This is especially true in situations like this where the drunken patron sues the bar for their own damages as a result of an accident. I have to admit, it seemed counterintuitive to me when I first studied Texas Dram Shop law. Texas Dram Shop law provides an avenue under Texas Alcohol and Beverage Code for victims of drunk driving accident, as well as patrons who “caused” the accident, to sue a restaurant, bar, or any other establishment licensed by the State of Texas if they serve a customer to the point of obvious intoxication where they knew or should have known that they presented a danger to themselves and others.

Most react this way: why do we even have that law? Are people not responsible for their actions?

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The Dram Shop Act

In 1987, just a few days after the Texas Supreme Court ruled in El Chico v. Poole, the Texas Legislature enacted the Dram Shop Act. It was established to hold bars liable for over-serving patrons who then went out into public and got into a car accident and injured someone else.

In a standard Dram Shop Case, there is a victim who is injured by another person. The victim in those cases are truly innocent. But the truth is that many people walk into our office here at Guest and Gray and they’ve received a DWI as a result of getting into an accident after leaving a bar where they were served alcohol to excess. These people may have a Dram Shop Case too, even though it was them who became intoxicated and only they were injured.