In Texas, there are a number of laws designed to prevent the intoxication of children, and to protect them from being injured due to the action of another person who is intoxicated. For example, it is illegal for a minor (defined as someone younger than 21-years-old) to purchase or be served alcohol. Also, if a minor is caught driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, Texas has a very strict zero tolerance policy which means it is a crime for a minor to operate a car, truck or motorcycle with any detectible amount of alcohol in their system.
In addition to the criminal aspects of Texas’ alcohol laws, however, there are also a number of civil aspects which allow the parents of children injured as a result of alcohol intoxication (either by themselves or someone else) to make a claim for compensation. The most obvious example of this is when a child is injured in a car wreck caused by a drunk driver. In most cases, the children and their parents would all be entitled to make a claim against the drunk driver’s insurance company.
But what if it was the child’s own parent who was intoxicated and at-fault for causing the crash? Texas law allows compensation to be sought against the parent’s auto insurance policy on behalf of the injured child. Similarly, all immediate family members injured in the accident can make a claim against the intoxicated motorist in whose vehicle they were riding.
Texas Dram Shop Act
The Texas Dram Shop Act refers to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code – Section 2.02 Causes of Action which allows those injured due to the actions of an intoxicated person to bring a claim against the bar, restaurant, or other business establishment that served the intoxicated person. Although it is most commonly relevant in DWI accident cases, it can in theory be employed in any number of situations where an intoxicated person was over-served and subsequently did something that resulting in a child being injured.
The Texas Dram Shop Act also states that an adult is liable for damages caused by the intoxication of a minor under the age of 18 is the adult knowingly served or provided to the minor any of the alcoholic beverages that contributed to their intoxication – or who allowed the minor to be served or provided any of the alcoholic beverages that contributed to their intoxication on the premises owned or leased by the adult. The exception to this rule is if it is the minor’s own parents or spouse that furnishes them with alcohol.
Additionally, if the minor themselves suffers injuries as a result of being intoxicated, they may be entitled to make a claim against whomever served or provided them with alcohol.
Make Sure You Understand Your Legal Rights
If your child has been injured in an accident caused by an intoxicated person or while they themselves were intoxicated, it is a good idea to discuss your case with an experienced Fort Worth child injury lawyer to determine whether there is any insurance liable for the damages incurred, or if your child injuries fall under the Texas Dram Shop Act.
Call today for a free consultation with one of our Board Certified Child Injury Attorneys. Call toll free at 800-354-6275 or locally at 817-294-1900.
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