Dramshop = Holding a bar accountable for over-selling to a driver
Most people don't know what the term Dramshop means. I didn't either until I became a trial lawyer and learned really fast. Dramshop is the legal term for holding a bar accountable for over-selling alcohol to a driver.
What are the systems in place to prevent over-selling alcohol?
In Texas, bar tenders are supposed to be qualified to count and cut off drunk patrons. Alcohol metabolizes at approximately one drink per hour. This is why bar tenders keep track of the drinks that are served to each person, not just a table. The bar is supposed to train their bar tenders to understand the signs and symptoms of drunk folks - but that truly varies and is not a good indicator. Instead, managing the amount of drinks per person per hour is the gold standard of keeping our roadways safe and clear of drunk drivers.
Last, bars are responsible for supervising and enforcing the standards and systems set in place to prevent over-selling. When they do not and drunk drivers get behind the wheel, the bar can be held accountable for damages caused.
Now, wait... what about the drunk driver?
The drunk driver can be and usually is partially at fault as well. Depending on the circumstances, a drunk driver made that choice to get behind the wheel and endanger others. It is no different than a criminal that made the choice to go into a dangerous apartment complex because there is a complete lack of security. The fact that the apartment complex chose to save money and not have safety devices or systems doesn't mean that the criminal gets off the hook. The drunk driver is the one that made the choice to buy the alcohol and drink the alcohol. No one forced him or her.
$131 Million Dollar Verdict obtained in Seattle by Nick Rowley
A few days ago, Nick Rowley obtained a $131 million dollar verdict for his client against a bar and the drunk driver. His client was left a quadripelgic after a horrific wreck where she was a passenger in the vehicle. The jury put 44% on the bar, 39% on the drunk driver and 17% on his client, the passenger.
This was a truly outstanding verdict and showed the power of a jury. A message is now sent to every bar and bar tender - take the safety of our community seriously. We do not want drunk drivers on the roads. The difference between a case involving a bar and just a drunk driver leaving his house is simple = the bar could have prevented it. Don't give in and say it could happen anywhere anyhow, the fact is the bar could have prevented this just as much as the drunk driver that got behind the wheel.
If you want to read more, click here for an article about this verdict.
We take DWI wrecks seriously to save lives in the future
Here at The Button Law Firm, the reason we take DWI wrecks and dramshop cases seriously is because we want to prevent crashes in the future. We want to prevent unnecessary deaths and serious injuries to our loved ones by holding bars and drunk drivers accountable when they are responsible.
We have found that each time we have presented our cases to a jury, they have done what is right and put the community first. When we try a case, I always make sure to stress the importance of the jury making decisions that are going to change conduct moving forward. They can protect our community and save lives. This verdict here shows they can.
If you want to read more about some of our other verdicts and settlements, especially those involving drunk drivers, click here to go to our results page.
We handle drunk driving and dramshop cases all over Texas and are ready to handle any case any where.