Dram Shop Acts

Dram Shop Acts are defined as state laws “stating the liabilities of tavern keepers serving alcoholic beverages to intoxicated patrons.” Dram shop acts work with the rationale that serving alcoholic beverages to intoxicated patrons creates unreasonable risk of harm and results in a charge of negligent conduct and legal liability.

Dram shop liability is basically the legal way of holding business such as bars, restaurants or liquor stores, responsible for the harm that intoxicated or underage patrons cause. Some bars deliberately serve more alcohol than they should to patrons in spite of seeing that he or she is obviously drunk. Bar managers often tend to over-serve their patrons in spite of knowing that they are intoxicated. The reason behind it of course is to make more money. Alcohol is also a big money maker for sporting events and other entertainment venues. While criminal laws punish the drunk drivers, Dram Shop Acts are laws that can make these businesses pay for the harm that they indirectly cause to DUI accident victims.

To be able to sue under a dram shop act, the victim or plaintiff must be able to prove that:

  • The business sold the alcohol to someone they knew was visibly intoxicated
  • The server or business’ manager knew that the intoxicated person was potentially going to drive away after consuming the alcohol
  • The vendor knew or should have known that the person was intoxicated

Simple as they may sound, these points can be quite challenging to prove in court. How do you prove that a server for instance knew that a patron was visibly drunk? It takes an experienced dram shop lawyer to dissect the case, conduct an independent investigation and most importantly get in touch with witnesses at the establishment who may have seen what occurred. For example, if many other patrons at a bar saw the individual stumbling, slurring and acting visibly intoxicated and saw that the bar served him more alcohol, then that could become strong evidence for the plaintiff.

In addition to providing succor for injured DUI accident victims, dram shop acts also provide relief for those who have themselves been injured. For example, if a drunk driver was provided more alcohol despite his intoxication and he crashed the car killing himself, then his family members can seek compensation from the establishment under dram shop laws. This also applies to cases where drunk drivers sustain serious injuries. They may also be able to seek compensation from the business.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Pennsylvania DUI accident, please contact an experienced PA dram shop lawyer at Cherry Injury Law to find out how we can help strengthen your case and help you obtain just compensation for your serious injuries and/or losses.

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If you have been seriously injured in the state of Pennsylvania by the negligence of another and if you have questions or concerns about your legal rights, please don’t hesitate to call. Our Pennsylvania injury attorneys are available 24 hours a day to speak with you, and we welcome all calls at no charge. Contact us today at 610-565-0300.