Woman being pulled over by the police

How to Determine Obvious Intoxication for Dram Shop Liability

Getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated is not only irresponsible, it is illegal. Accidents caused by drunk drivers often result in serious injury or even death. That’s why there are laws in place to prevent people from driving under the influence of alcohol. Those who do so must be held accountable. But what about the people and establishments that supply them with the alcohol?

Under the Texas Dram Shop Act, an establishment that served the defendant alcohol can be held liable if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant was “obviously intoxicated” at the time of service. Proving that the defendant’s level of intoxication proved “obvious” can be a difficult task. This is because many bars don’t maintain surveillance inside, and the individuals who sold the defendant the alcohol won’t want to admit any fault. So, what can the plaintiff do?

Proving Obvious Intoxication at the Time of Service

Since no one will likely cop to what actually happened, one of the best means for proving obvious intoxication is by hiring a forensic toxicologist. This person will work backwards by taking the person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time they were arrested, calculating their BAC at the time of service (via establishing their alcohol absorption rate), and then establishing when that person was last served alcohol. 

One’s BAC is the level of alcohol that they have in their bloodstream. Anyone who is operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of at least .08 is considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol, or drunk driving. This is because your BAC will determine the effects that the alcohol currently has on you. 

Alcohol Absorption Rates Differ Per Person

It’s important to note that every person’s alcohol absorption rate is different. Although some believe that you shouldn’t have more than one drink an hour, this can differ depending upon several factors, such as:

  • Sex;
  • Weight;
  • Age;
  • Metabolic rate;
  • Medications; and
  • Medical conditions.

A forensic toxicologist is the best person to determine an individual’s alcohol absorption rate based upon these factors. 

If the plaintiff can prove that the establishment served the defendant when he or she was already obviously intoxicated, the establishment can be held liable for damages. This can prove extremely helpful when the defendant him or herself lacks the money to fully compensate the plaintiff for damages. 

The Attorneys at Ceja Law Firm Help Those in Houston Who Have Been Injured in an Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to the recklessness or negligence of another, it’s vital that you understand to what you are entitled under the law. With this information under your belt, you can make the important decisions regarding how you want to move forward. That’s why it’s in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Texas personal injury attorney.

At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, we understand the impact that an accident can have on many parts of your life and the importance of properly dealing with such negligence or recklessness. That’s why we will work to get you the compensation that you deserve. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!