The Importance of Dram Shop Laws

If someone is injured by a drunk patron who has been served alcohol at a bar or restaurant, they can sue the establishment for damages. This type of lawsuit is known as a Dram Shop Law claim.

It is illegal for licensed establishments, including bars and restaurants, to serve minors or people who are visibly intoxicated. A strong dram shop case requires evidence of visible intoxication, eyewitness accounts, and a clear causation between the service of alcohol and injuries or damages.

Prevention of Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving accidents often cause catastrophic injuries and deaths. While these collisions can be caused by many factors, including inhibited judgment and delayed reactions, drinking and driving is usually a contributing factor. While drunk drivers usually have low to no liability insurance, victims may be able to recover damages from the bars and other establishments that served them under Pennsylvania’s dram shop laws.

Bars, restaurants, and taverns must watch for signs of visible intoxication in their patrons and stop serving them alcohol. This ensures the safety of other customers, workers, and the public in general. Signs of visible intoxication can include slurred speech, unsteady gait, glassy or bloodshot eyes, and difficulty maintaining a train of thought.

Although dram shop cases are commonly associated with drunk driving accidents, they also cover bar brawls and drunk individuals who hurt themselves by tripping and falling. Witness testimony indicating that the person exhibited visible signs of intoxication when served is critical to successful dram shop claims.

Prevention of Injuries Caused by Intoxicated People

In addition to drunk drivers, Pennsylvania dram shop laws hold businesses that serve alcohol responsible for injuries caused by intoxicated patrons. This includes bars, taverns, restaurants, and even private events hosted by individuals with liquor licenses.

The first element required in a successful dram shop case is proof that the person was visibly intoxicated at the time of service. 

Second, the injury or loss must have been directly caused by the person’s intoxication. This can include a car accident or something as simple as someone tripping and falling while walking back to their vehicle. Relation back evidence and testimony from a witness can help prove these elements. This is why it is essential to contact a skilled attorney soon after an accident or loss occurs. Injured parties must file within the statute of limitations for their claims to be heard by a court.

Prevention of Injuries Caused by Intoxicated People

In many states, business owners must watch for signs of visibly intoxicated patrons and decide whether to continue serving them. This is called dram shop law and impacts more people than you think.

Bars and taverns can be held responsible for drunk-related injuries when they serve visibly intoxicated patrons who later cause accidents and harm others. These cases are typically called “first-party” and third-party dram shop actions.

Having eyewitness testimony in these cases is essential because it can help prove that the person was visibly intoxicated when served. In addition, establishing that the intoxicated patron was over-21 and not a minor is also helpful. 

Prevention of Injuries Caused by Drunk Drivers

A successful dram shop claim allows injured parties to seek monetary compensation from the establishment that served them alcohol if that person causes an accident and injuries due to being drunk.

In dram shop cases, lawyers work with toxicology experts to use blood alcohol tests and other evidence to show a person’s BAC level when served. Eyewitness testimony is essential for dram shop claims because the law stresses visible signs of intoxication.

Third-party dram shop claims are possible against bars and other establishments that serve alcohol if the drunk patron later injures a third party, such as another driver or pedestrian. Third-party dram shop claims are especially effective because juries are more receptive to them and more inclined to sympathize with innocent victims of drunk drivers.