Dram Shop Laws Protect Against Drunk Driving Accidents
When a restaurant or other establishment sells alcohol to an intoxicated customer, that business may be liable if the customer injures another person. This is known as dram shop law. Often times, the drunk driver is not the only one responsible for the accident. In fact, not only can a drunk driver be held liable for injuries caused in an alcohol-related car accident, but so can a bar, nightclub, or restaurant that served alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated individual who caused the car accident.
Unfortunately, establishments often put profits before the safety of others. When bar owners or employees knowingly serve alcohol to a customer who is visibly intoxicated, they are putting innocent lives at risk if the drunk patron gets behind the wheel.
Who Is Liable For Injuries Caused By A Drunk Driver
Under dram shop law, an injured person and the family of a person killed by a drunk driver can file a lawsuit against an establishment responsible for the injuries and losses sustained in a car accident. It may be another driver, a passenger in another car, the family of a person killed by a drunk driver and even the passenger of the drunk driver’s car who can sue the bar or restaurant. Although the majority of dram shop cases involve drunk driving, dram shop liability may also apply in cases involving assaults, bar fights, and other crimes.
For example, if an intoxicated customer inside a restaurant or bar assaults another patron, that victim can file a personal injury action against the owner of the bar to recover for the injuries caused by the customer. In some cases, the intoxicated patron may have had a history of altercations in a particular bar. If a patron was over-served, left that establishment and went on to commit a violent crime such as an assault, that bar/establishment may be held financially responsible.
Dram Shop laws are in place to deter establishments from negligent alcohol serving. Establishments and individuals who are providing alcohol are obligated to prevent assaults and other dangerous situations by refusing to serve people who are visibly intoxicated. There are actions that restaurants and bars can take to help prevent accidents caused by intoxicated individuals.