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In a typical year, 24,000 Americans lose their lives in traffic accidents involving alcohol and 70 percent of wrecks involving 20- to 24-year-olds are alcohol-related, according to the National Restaurant Association.
While purchasing liquor liability insurance seems to be more popular in this decade than the last, several Houston-area attorneys say fewer victims of drunk drivers and their families are actually filing suit against alcohol-serving establishments and winning.
DRAM SHOP LAW
The diminishing number of lawsuits can be attributed to the changes the 1995 Texas Legislature passed regarding dram shop law, says attorney Hartley Hampton, a partner with Hampton and Young and past president of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association.
One of the most recent changes to dram shop law is the alteration of joint and several liability, which makes any party named in a lawsuit liable for the entire judgement. Under the new law, in order for the plaintiff to collect the entire amount from a bar …