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Dram Shop Liability

Bryan Dram Shop Liability Attorney 


The dangers of drinking and driving cannot be overemphasized. According to recent Texas Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics, there were a total of 23,157 DWI-related crashes statewide in 2020. Getting injured in an accident caused by an alcohol-impaired driver can result in severe, life-altering injuries and other costly losses. If you or someone you know has been injured by the negligent actions of an intoxicated driver, you are entitled to pursue compensation and hold the liable party accountable, even if that includes the bar that served the alcohol.

Here at my firm, Rick Davis & Associates, I have the necessary experience and resources to help you hold the individuals responsible for your injuries accountable. As an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, I can review and investigate all of the surrounding circumstances of your case and determine whether you should pursue legal action against the establishment that sold and/or served the alcohol. I will fight compassionately to protect your legal rights and help you seek the compensation you need and deserve for your injuries, damages, and any additional pain and suffering.

My firm — Rick Davis & Associates — is proud to serve clients throughout Bryan, Texas, and the surrounding areas of Caldwell, College Station, Madisonville, Anderson, Brenham, Washington County, Grimes County, Madison County, and Burleson County. Call or reach out to my office today to learn more about how I can help you with your case!

The dram shop liability law in Texas applies to anyone, entity, or establishment that is licensed or permitted to serve alcohol or sell alcohol in the state. According to Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Annotated Section 2.02(b), a person providing, selling, or serving an alcoholic beverage can be held liable for damages caused by the intoxicated patron if:

  • It was apparent to the provider that the patron was "obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others," and
  • The intoxication of the recipient of the alcoholic beverage was a proximate cause of the damages suffered.

For example, imagine a person stops at a bar to drink a few glasses of alcohol. The bartender continues serving alcoholic beverages to the customer, even after it was clearly evident that the customer was impaired to the level of having trouble speaking and walking. On their way out, the customer tumbles and injures another person. The injured party may sue the bar that served the alcohol for negligence under Texas dram shop law.

Liability for Bars & Restaurants Who Overserve Customers

In 1987, Texas passed the Dram Shop Act which makes Bars and Restaurants liable for damage cases by intoxicated persons whom the bar or restaurant served.  The law is intended to stop Bars and Restaurants from serving persons who are “obviously intoxicated” to the point that they are a clear danger to themselves and others. 

A suit based on the Texas Dram Shop Act is considered to be a statutory cause of action, not a cause of action based on common law.  Since it is a statutory cause of action, the plaintiff's claims must fall squarely under the statute. 

The Courts have not and will not extend the Dram Shop Act to ordinary social host liability.  What this means, for example, is that if a couple hosts a party and serve alcohol and continue to serve alcohol to one of their friends who is obviously intoxicated, and that friend shortly after that drives and injures, maims, or kills another person or injury, maim or kill themselves, the injured person (or, in the case where the obviously intoxicated person himself dies, that person's family) cannot bring a lawsuit under the Dram Shop Act and sue the people who hosted the party and overserved a person.

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Work With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Social Host Liability

In 2005, the Texas Legislature did amend the statute to allow for social host liability in very limited situations.  The Texas Alcohol and Beverage Code contains a "social host liability law" provision when a person serves alcohol to a minor and the drunk minor either causes injury or sustains injuries. According to the social host liability law, an alcohol provider may be held responsible for damages caused by an intoxicated minor if:

  • The minor who was served alcohol is younger than 18 years of age.
  • The provider of the alcoholic beverage is not the minor's parent, guardian, or custodian and is 21 years of age or older
  • The provider intentionally served the minor alcohol, which contributed to the minor's intoxication.

The reasoning behind this amendment is that it is unlawful to serve a minor alcohol in the first place, and if someone serves alcohol to a minor that is under 18 (and in the eyes of the law not even an adult yet), then someone injured because of such outrageous conduct (that is, someone how is 21 years old serving alcohol to someone else who is 17 years old or younger) should be able to sue for damages.


Just like other personal injury claims, a dram shop or social host liability claim in Texas must be commenced in civil court within two years from the date of accident or injury. This means that there is a two-year window for any individual to file a claim, starting from the date that the injury or accident occurred.


The following damages may be recovered through a dram shop claim:

  • Medical expenses incurred in the past
  • Medical expenses anticipated to be incurred in the future
  • Lost income and benefits sustained in the past
  • Anticipated lost income and benefits in the future
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Compensation for damaged property
  • Pain and suffering in the past
  • Pain and suffering are anticipated in the future
  • Mental anguish suffered in the past
  • Mental anguish anticipate in the future
  • Wrongful death
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of services

Being involved in an accident caused by an intoxicated person can be devastating and can affect your financial, mental, and physical well-being. Thankfully, you don't have to bear the financial burdens, liabilities, and challenges on your own. That’s why it is so important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible so that they can protect your legal rights and help you seek the compensation for your injuries that you deserve.

At Northgate in College Station, Texas next to Texas A&M University, many Northgage Bars in the recent past have served alcohol to obviously intoxicated patrons — customers who, right after that, drove a car or truck and caused an accident that resulted in death or serious injuries that necessitated an ambulance trip to the hospital. 

If you have been injured by someone who was overserved by a Bar or Restaurant or by anyone who served alcohol to a minor 17 years old or younger who became drunk and hurt someone, Rick Davis will aggressively sue the negligent bar or restaurant that either served alcohol to an obviously intoxicated patron. 

Rick Davis will also aggressively sue anyone, whether it be a Bar or Restaurant or an individual, who served alcohol to a minor 17 years old or younger where that action of serving a teenager resulted in damages. 

At Rick Davis & Associates, I have devoted my entire career to providing competent, thorough legal services and aggressive, strong representation to clients, including those who are pursuing dram shop liability claims. As your attorney at law, I can:

  • Represent your interests and strive to hold the responsible parties accountable
  • Gather and log all relevant information, evidence, and documentation
  • Review all the facts of your case and perform an in-depth investigation
  • Determine if you have a case against the bar or establishment that sold the alcohol to an intoxicated person
  • If you do have a case, work to prove fault and establish liability against the negligent bar, restaurant, or social host
  • Evaluate the full extent of your injuries and estimate case-value
  • Work to negotiate a fair settlement with insurance carriers
  • File a lawsuit on your behalf, and present your claims to a Texas jury in a jury trial, if the insurance company is totally unreasonable

I will fight diligently to fight for your rights and help you pursue fair financial compensation for medical expenses, for lost income and benefits, for future medical treatment, for discomfort, for mental anguish, and for physical pain and suffering. So if you or someone you know has been the victim of someone else’s intoxicated negligent actions, call or reach out to my firm today to schedule a free case consultation. Together, we can discuss the details of your case and the next steps that you should take to pursue the justice you deserve.


If you or someone you know has been injured by an intoxicated person's negligence, you may be able to sue the bar or establishment that served an obviously intoxicated person alcohol. Contact Rick Davis & Associates today to schedule a free one-on-one case evaluation. 

I can offer you the comprehensive legal guidance, support, and vigorous representation you need at every turn. We are a litigation law firm.  I'm proud to represent clients throughout Bryan, Texas, and the surrounding areas of Caldwell, College Station, Madisonville, Anderson, Brenham, Washington County, Grimes County, Madison County, and Burleson County. Reach out today for help!