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Galveston bar sued for $1 million in deadly car accident

A bar in Galveston that allegedly sold alcohol to a patron who was obviously intoxicated has been sued for $1 million in damages for the death of a 34-year-old women who was killed as she and her boyfriend walked along the seawall.

The driver of the vehicle that killed her and injured her boyfriend was charged with DUI, manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The man later pled guilty to a lesser charge and sentenced to 28 years in prison.

The bar, according to the complaint, negligently served the driver additional alcohol "when he was obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others." 

This language describing the behavior of the bar is not accidental, as it virtually mirrors the language of the Texas dram shop law, which controls the liability of a bar or restaurant for negligently serving an intoxicated patron.

Texas, unlike some states that prevent dram shops from being sued after a drunk driving accident, does permit dram shops (bars) to be sued for serving drunk or obviously intoxicated patrons. One reason you want to contact an attorney as soon as possible, is that you may need to locate witnesses from the bar or restaurant before memories fade and become hazy.

This can make dram shop cases more difficult as you have to have credible witness who can describe the driver's state of intoxication and how the bar continued serving alcohol. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, an attorney can help determine if you may have a viable dram shop action.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Bar on Galveston Seawall sued for $1M in fatal wreck," Robert Stanton, August 20, 2013

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