The Role of Dram Shop Liability in Your Car Accident Case

If you were involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, you may be under the impression that the driver is the only liable person. However, when a person becomes intoxicated, the bar or restaurant responsible for that intoxication might also be to blame.

Defining Dram Shop Laws

A dram shop is an older term that refers to any place where alcohol may be purchased. This includes mostly restaurants and bars, but may also apply to some retail establishments. If someone who purchases alcohol from a dram shop goes on to harm another person, usually through a car accident of some sort, the alcohol vendor may be considered responsible.

Establishing Liability

Proving liability under dram shop laws can sometimes be very difficult, especially because the laws are usually subjective. Establishments are prohibited from selling alcohol to individuals who appear intoxicated, but the appearance of intoxication is often subjective and can be hard to prove. However, an experienced car accident attorney can help you prove liability. If the driver was sold alcohol illegally, either because he or she was under the legal drinking age or was already visibly intoxicated, the dram shop could be held responsible for the damages caused by the drunk driver.

When proving liability, evidence may include:

Eyewitness testimonies: If other people saw the dram shop serve the intoxicated driver that later injured you in a crash, their testimony could prove the shop’s liability.

Surveillance footage: Most establishments are now protected by surveillance footage both inside and out.

Receipts of purchase: Any receipts or records of alcoholic purchases made before the incident could sometimes be enough to prove dram shop liability.

Drunk drivers experience slower response times and will often make very hazardous mistakes, such as drifting into neighboring lanes, ignoring stop lights, or driving on the wrong side of the road. While the driver should undoubtedly be held accountable for his or her actions, so should any other parties who contributed to the crash. By serving an excessive amount of alcohol to a customer, or serving an already intoxicated customer, dram shops put everyone at risk.

Damages from dram shop DUI cases may include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, or even funeral costs. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, our personal injury lawyers at Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. can help fight for your rights after a drunk driving accident.

Contact Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. to discuss your case with our attorneys.

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