Dallas, TX asked in Personal Injury for Texas

Q: Can I file a civil suit against a bar that over served, and resulted in the death of my brother?

My brother was extremely over served at a bar in Texas. He left and, approximately 12 minutes later, had an accident resulting in his death. Could my mother and I file a civil suit against the establishment that over served him?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Robert C. Slim
Robert C. Slim
Answered
  • Dallas, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Quite possibly. The type of case you are describing is called a “dram shop” case. They are typically hard cases to win only because you would have to prove that the victim was over-served after being obviously intoxicated. So, all the evidence and witnesses tend to be within the bar’s control. A lot depends on the evidence you are able to gather about his circumstances at the bar and from other customers who (hopefully) were not too intoxicated themselves.... It’s certainly a case worth looking into and discussing over a free consultation.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

Jason B. Stephens
Jason B. Stephens
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: I'm very sorry to hear about your brother. Yes, your mom my indeed have a claim if it can be proven that your brother was over served and obviously intoxicated. One way to perhaps prove this is to get a copy of your brother's credit card charges from that evening. If he was putting the drinks on his credit card, then there will be a paper trail. From there, you can make an estimate as to the number of drinks he was served. Likewise, you would want to talk to any friends that were with him to see what information they can add. You can also considering filing a complaint with the TABC at https://www.tabc.state.tx.us/enforcement/complain_about_a_location.asp and the TABC website also allows you to seek and obtain public information available on a particular establishment. I hope that helps and gives you some direction. As always, feel free to call us for a more in depth free consultation. Again, I'm sorry for you loss.

James Michael Moore
James Michael Moore
Answered
  • McAllen, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: First of all, I'm sorry to hear about your brother. In all likelihood, yes, your mother would likely be able to file a claim against the establishment that overserved him.

Dram shop laws in Texas are laws that exist to protect consumers from restaurants and bars that criminally over-serve their guests to the point of intoxication, making them a danger to themselves and those who share the road with them.

To bring a cause of action (a reason to sue), under these laws, there are two specific details that need to have occurred:

(1) at the time the provision occurred it was apparent to the provider that the 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; and

(2) the intoxication of the recipient of the alcoholic beverage was a proximate cause of the damages suffered.

Witnesses, credit card statements, any social media posts or videos taken are all very imperative to obtain in order to tell the story of what happened the night of your brother's accident.

I wish you, your mother, and your family the very best as you seek justice for your brother.

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