Dram Shop Explained

The term “dram shop” comes from 18th century England where certain businesses sold gin by the spoonful, which was termed as “dram.” Only some states in the United States have what are known as dram shop laws. These laws hold retail establishments that sell alcohol accountable for any harm – death, injury or other damages – caused by an intoxicated patron.

The idea behind dram shop liability is to prevent problems by regulating the environment in which alcohol is sold. These laws are basically meant to motivate owners of alcohol establishments to develop responsible service policies and also train their employees so they develop the ability to decide when to refuse alcohol sales to patrons.

If a DUI car accident in Pennsylvania is the result of a bar or restaurant continuing to sell alcohol to a person even if he or she is intoxicated, then, under state laws, the establishment can also be held liable for any injuries or damages caused to innocent victims. Under Pennsylvania law, plaintiff can recover after showing that:

  • The alcohol was sold to the patron by the said establishment or the defendant
  • Injures and/or damages were sustained by the plaintiff
  • The alcohol was sold to the patron by the establishment despite “visible intoxication”
  • The sale of the alcohol was the proximate cause of the intoxication

Very often, we see that a Pennsylvania dram shop law is used in cases when an intoxicated person causes a serious car accident. It is often part of a larger personal injury lawsuit filed by the intoxicated driver or an innocent victim who was injured in a car crash caused by the drunk driver. However, it is important to remember that dram shop laws are not limited to an auto accident. If a bar or restaurant serves a visibly intoxicated person who then gets in a physical fight and seriously injures someone else, that injured victim can sue the bar under the Dram Shop Act as well.

As we seek compensation for our clients, the PA liquor liability attorneys of Cherry Injury Law also thoroughly investigate the role of the bar or restaurant that served the drunk driver, looking beyond just the driver and his or her insurance company. A business serves its community. It is unacceptable for a business owner to place profits over the safety and well-being of the community that helps their establishment thrive and be profitable in the first place. If you have been the victim of a drunk driving accident, please contact Cherry Injury Law for a free and comprehensive consultation.

Contact Us Today! WE CAN HELP YOU!

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.