Liquor Liability: What Counts As Overserving?

Being properly compensated after an accident with an intoxicated individual can be a frustrating, stressful, and emotional experience. These injuries can arise from a variety of situations, ranging from auto accidents to personal attacks.

To make things potentially worse, the negligent actor is often not insured for an amount that would be deemed as sufficient for whole damage coverage, leaving injured victims looking for an avenue possible for whole financial recovery.

Luckily, most states have enacted “dram shop” laws that allow injured victims to file legal claims against other actors that can include the servers in certain scenarios when the primary negligent party has been at a retail outlet or social event prior to or during the act.

However, these cases can be complicated legal matters that are always strongly defended, and they always require the expertise of an experienced liquor liability attorney representing the case.

Primary Party

Claims against a primary party are handled as any other personal injury claim, as the plaintiff’s personal injury attorney can request financial compensation for all medical bills stemming from the accident, lost wages when conditions apply, and general damages for long-term impact of any associated injuries.

These cases commonly include an auto accident when innocent individuals struck by a drunk driver who has left a restaurant, bar, retail store, or social event. Anyone who sells or serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated individual who causes an injury later could be partially liable for any accident injuries.

Restaurants and Retail Establishments

All business operators who serve or sell alcohol are trained in spotting an obviously intoxicated customer. This is the purpose of each worker being licensed to work at an alcohol outlet. Signs of intoxication that these operators should look for include:

  • Loud talking
  • Crude behavior
  • Drinking alone
  • Over-generous with money
  • Buying rounds of drinks
  • Nodding off at the bar or table
  • Slurred speech
  • Stumbling

However, many business operators are often very busy when they are dispensing alcohol to certain individuals who may be about to drive or become violent when they consume alcohol.

While this can seem like a simple observatory test, it can actually be complicated when the case goes to trial. And, taking a case to trial is common when the opposing party is a major restaurant chain or prominent liquor store.

Social Hosts

Dram shop laws also stipulate that social event hosts can be held liable for damage done by a guest when they have consumed alcohol beyond legal intoxication limits. In most cases when alcohol is involved, the .08 legal limit is typically a standard, but not always.

Different people respond differently to even low alcohol amounts, and anyone who has consumed any controlled substances at a private event and injures another individual could result in the social host being pursued for additional damages.

No one should ever file a dram shop claim without aggressive representation from a personal injury attorney or a liquor liability attorney who understands how to craft a solid case. Claims can be much more valuable than the victim realizes, and they are always well-defended.

The personal injury attorney you choose can make a major difference. In Philadelphia, that difference maker is Marciano & MacAvoy, P.C.

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