Could a business be liable for a drunk driving crash?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Car accidents

Individuals generally have to accept personal responsibility for the choices that they make. Everyone knows that there is some risk that comes from traveling in motor vehicles, and most people do everything in their power to keep themselves and their passengers safe while driving.

Sadly, not everyone makes safety and legal compliance a priority. People sometimes make choices that they know put themselves and others at risk of injury. Many people overestimate their own skill as drivers or underestimate the potential consequences if they cause a collision. Those who regularly drink might be overconfident about their skills or may assume that they can invade detection by law enforcement.

They probably don’t intend to cause crashes, but some of them do. Usually, drunk drivers are personally responsible for any collisions they cause. However, it is sometimes possible to hold a business accountable for a crash caused by a drunk driver. When may a company have a degree of responsibility for the conduct of an impaired motorist?

When a business has served a drunk driver

Companies in Texas need state-issued licenses to legally serve alcohol. They then need to carefully comply with alcohol service rules to retain those licenses. Sometimes, the workers at a business violate alcohol laws by serving underage individuals or providing additional drinks to someone who is already clearly quite drunk. Either of those scenarios could potentially give rise to a dram shop claim against a business if the patron leaves and then causes a collision.

When a drunk driver is on the clock

Businesses often need their employees to drive to handle certain job functions. Some companies provide vehicles for their workers, while others require that employees sometimes drive in their own vehicles for job functions. When a company requires that a worker drives as part of their job, the organization has a degree of liability if that worker causes a crash. Even in cases where the employee very clearly violated the law, as is the case in drunk driving scenarios, the business may ultimately be liable if the worker causes a collision that leads to injury or property damage losses for others.

A business having partial liability for a crash may lead to more thorough compensation for those affected by a drunk driving collision. Learning about dram shop and vicarious liability rules can potentially help those affected by a drunk driver in Texas to seek justice.