Are Bars Liable for Overserving Prior to a Drunk Driving Accident Occurs?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Stewart J. Eisenberg with Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C..
Bars, restaurants, liquor stores, and other businesses that serve alcohol are responsible for making sure that visitors to their establishments are not served alcoholic beverages to the point of intoxication. If a drunk driving accident occurs as a result of an intoxicated driver imbibing too much at an alcohol-serving business, that establishment may also be liable for the resulting damages; this rule is referred to as dram shop liability.
Dram shop liability laws vary from state to state but are supposed to prevent serving intoxicated customers.
While dram shop liability laws can vary, in general, bars and restaurants are not legally allowed to serve customers they know or should reasonably know are already intoxicated. While the drunk driver in question would certainly be responsible for any resulting damages, the establishment that overserved them may also be partially liable. Similarly, if an assault or other accident occurred due at least in part to a patron’s drunken state, the perpetrator, as well as the establishment that served them, could be considered liable.
If a vendor sold alcohol or an alcoholic beverage to a visibly intoxicated person, the establishment could face an injury lawsuit.
Whenever someone is injured due to the negligent conduct or intentional actions of another party, the injury victim may be eligible to file a claim. In the event of a drunk driving accident, this could enable the victim and their family to pursue not only the driver themself, but the restaurant, bar, or vendor that played a part in allowing a drunk person to become further intoxicated before taking their vehicle out on the road.
If you suspect a bar or restaurant of negligently serving alcohol to intoxicated individuals prior to an accident, it’s important to talk to an attorney.
If you or a loved one were injured in a drunk driving accident and suspect that an establishment may be liable for overserving, thereby contributing to the event, it’s important to discuss these concerns with an attorney. Damage that may be eligible to recoup in a drunk driving accident claim typically include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. May also include punitive damages intended to punish a business that behaved with gross misconduct in regard to patron safety, as well as the safety of anyone sharing the road with their patrons after consuming alcohol on the premises. This rule applies not only to driving accidents, but to any kind of accident, situation, or injury arising from a patron’s state of intoxication.
Specific kinds of evidence may be available in injury cases that involve dram shop liability. For example, security cameras from inside and outside the establishment may be requested and obtained by an attorney, as well as contact information and testimonies from eye-witnesses who recall the event in question, or who remember seeing a visibly intoxicated person being overserved.
To learn more about your options after being injured in a drunk driving accident, or to learn more about dram shop liability, reach out to an experienced dram shop liability attorney in your area.