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dram shop liability

Most states have a dram shop law to deter providers of alcoholic beverages (servers, liquor stores, bars, restaurants) who sell or serve alcoholic beverages under authority of a license or permit from selling or serving alcoholic beverages to obviously intoxicated individuals.

These laws generally eliminate any liability of servers, liquor stores, bars, and restaurants when a person to whom they sell or serve alcohol causes personal injury or property damage—whether in an automobile accident, a fight, or other incident—unless the person to whom they sell or serve alcohol is obviously intoxicated.

Laws regarding dram shop liability vary from state to state and are usually located in a state’s statutes.

In Texas, dram shop laws are codified in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, specifically under Section 2.02, which allows for a cause of action against establishments that serve alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person who presents a clear danger to themselves and others. Under this statute, a provider can be held liable for damages caused by the intoxicated person, such as injuries or property damage resulting from an accident. However, for the establishment to be held liable, it must be proven that it was apparent the individual was so intoxicated at the time of service that they posed a clear risk. Additionally, the intoxication must be a proximate cause of the damages incurred. Texas law also includes a 'safe harbor' defense for establishments that can demonstrate they have implemented certain training programs for their staff and that the employee serving the intoxicated person was not directly responsible for the violation.

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