Back in July of this year, three teenagers were involved in a serious Texas car accident after the driver lost control of the vehicle. After losing control of the Nissan Altima, the car veered off the road and into the median, where it slammed head-on into trees that cut the vehicle in half. While the driver survived with relatively minor injuries, both passengers died from the injuries they sustained in the accident.
While investigating the fatal accident, police believed the driver to have been under the influence of alcohol. That was confirmed, and the teenage driver was arrested and charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter. According to a recent news report, authorities have subsequently arrested a 29-year-old gas-station clerk who they believe may have sold the teenage driver fortified wine on the day of the fatal accident. The clerk denies he sold the minor alcohol, claiming that he always checks customers’ identification prior to selling them alcohol.
Dram Shop and Social Host Liability
While the driver involved in this tragic accident may have obtained alcohol from a gas station, more often than not under-age drinkers get alcohol from a friend’s parents or from a bar or restaurant. In some cases, the bartender may be a friend or acquaintance who serves the minor, knowing they are under-age.
In an attempt to discourage bars and restaurants from serving alcohol to minors, Texas lawmakers have enacted laws that allow for those who provide or sell alcohol to minors to be held responsible for any injuries that result. These laws, traditionally called “dram shop” laws, allow for accident victims to recover financially from those who over-serve a guest or customer or provide a minor with alcohol.
In more recent years, minors have begun drinking more often at house parties. In some cases, an adult –usually a parent, sibling, or older friend – agrees to purchase alcohol for party-goers. Lawmakers, recognizing the dangers involved, modeled a law after the dram shop law to deter this conduct, called social-host liability. The social-host liability law works in the same way that the dram shop law does, in that it allows for those who have been injured as a result of an intoxicated person (either an over-served adult or a minor who was provided any alcohol) to recover damages for their injuries.
Dram shop and social-host liability cases can be very complex, and they require an accident victim to prove certain elements before they are entitled to recover compensation for their injuries. Thus, it is important that anyone considering this type of claim discuss their case with a dedicated Texas personal injury attorney.
Have You Been Injured in a Texas DUI Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Texas DUI accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, there may be multiple parties who are liable for your injuries. The dedicated San Antonio personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Carabin Shaw have extensive experience helping victims and their families pursue the compensation they deserve. Call 1-800-862-1260 to schedule a free consultation today.
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