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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, which allows for a cause of action against alcohol providers such as bars, restaurants, and liquor stores if they serve alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person who presents a clear danger to themselves and others. Under these laws, if the intoxicated person subsequently causes harm, such as in a car accident or a fight, the provider can be held liable for damages resulting from the injury or property damage. However, Texas law also provides a 'safe harbor' defense for establishments that implement certain training programs for their employees and follow specific service protocols. This defense can limit or eliminate the liability of the establishment if they can prove that they have met the requirements of the safe harbor provisions.

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