It’s well-known that a drunk driver can be held legally liable for the injury or death of another person. You might not be aware, however, that in most states, dram shop laws allow victims and their families to hold bars and alcohol retailers accountable for the actions of the patrons they serve.
What Is Dram Shop Liability?
Dram shop laws are named after bars and taverns in 18th Century England that sold small quantities, or drams, of liquors to patrons. These laws allow the victims of drunk driving accidents, physical altercations, and other harmful acts to hold alcohol vendors and retailers accountable for the actions of the intoxicated individual.
In essence, dram shop liability laws extend personal injury and wrongful death responsibility to the bars, taverns, clubs, restaurants, and liquor stores that serve alcohol to minors and people who are visibly intoxicated. If the patron causes an accident that injures a third party, the establishment may also be legally at fault for the damages.
What Is the Legal Standard in Dram Shop Cases?
In a dram shop lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the establishment was negligent. Generally, that involves demonstrating that the business either served alcohol to an individual who was under the legal drinking age, or to a person who was visibly intoxicated.
If the plaintiff can prove at least one of these requirements, and that it directly contributed to their injury, they could receive compensation. Liability may be distributed between multiple parties. For example, a jury may find that both the tavern and the drunk driver were 50% at fault, in which case each party would be responsible for splitting the damages.
Contact a Dram Shop Attorney
If a dram shop provided alcohol to an individual who later harmed you or a loved one, the business may be legally liable for your injuries. The best way to find out is to contact a dram shop lawyer at Morgan & Morgan.
For more than 30 years, our attorneys have fought on behalf of injury victims to protect their rights and secure their financial futures. Over that time, we have won more than $9 billion for our clients.
Find out what we can do for you by scheduling a free case evaluation. It costs nothing to get started, and we get paid only if you win. Contact us today.