Bartender Charged for Overserving Customer Involved in Fatal Accident
A Texas bartender has been charged with overserving a customer who was later involved in a fatal crash back in January. World of Beer bartender Miguel Rizo was charged with overserving Zachary Castro who later slammed into a number of people who were servicing a disabled car on January 26. Castro was also a bartender at World of Beer, but he was not working the night of the accident. Authorities say that they have video of Castro visibly intoxicated in the bar moments before getting into his car.
Rizo has been charged with two misdemeanor violations for serving a visibly intoxicated patron and allowing a patron to stay on the premises after they had become visibly intoxicated.
Mayra Ospina and her boyfriend, Luis Ramirez, stopped to render aid to a vehicle that had ended up in a ditch when a couple of other drivers stopped to also render aid. They realized that the car had been abandoned and the driver was nowhere to be found. That’s when Castro slammed into them in his pickup truck.
Ospina was thrown over the hood of the pickup truck and later declared brain dead at the hospital. She died shortly after. Ospina’s boyfriend managed to survive the crash but required multiple surgeries before he was able to return home. Ramirez has filed a lawsuit against the World of Beer for the negligence of their employee. Castro no longer works at World of Beer.
Dram Shop Liability in Texas
In Texas, a bar or restaurant can be held liable for the actions of one of its customers given that certain conditions are met. In this case, the bar very clearly served alcohol to an intoxicated person (who happened to be both a customer and an employee of the bar). Since he was not on the job, he is not considered an employee for the purposes of this lawsuit. However, Rizo is, and he was the one who served the alcohol, so the “dram shop” or bar is vicariously liable for Rizo’s conduct.
Statutes involving dram shop liability can be found in Chapter 2 of the Alcohol Beverage Code. A dram shop can be held liable if an individual leaves their establishment inebriated and causes an accident, but only if the individual who caused the accident was under the age of 21 or “obviously intoxicated” when the bartender was serving them.
It appears well established that Castro was visibly intoxicated and there is video evidence to prove it. Not only could this establishment be held liable for Ramirez’s injuries, they can also be held liable for Ospina’s death.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer
If a proprietor’s negligence caused you injury, you are entitled to sue for medical expenses, lost wages, emotional grief, and pain and suffering. Call the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers today to schedule a free consultation.