When Is A Bar Liable For A DUI Accident?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The bar is a fun place to head to if you’re in the mood to throw back a few drinks and meet up with some friends. The fun ceases, however, when someone leaves the bar intoxicated and causes an accident on the road. The question that immediately comes to mind is, “who shoulders the blame for the injuries sustained in such an incident?”

Most would agree that any individual who gets drunk of their own volition, then gets behind the wheel and causes an accident, bears the brunt of the responsibility. They might not be the only party to blame, though, and there’s a case to be made that the establishment where they got drunk might share in some of that responsibility as well.

These are called dram shop laws, and though the specifics vary (you might get one answer speaking to a Louisiana car accident lawyer, and then a different one from a specialist in another state), the fact remains that most states have them. Read on, and we’ll provide a general breakdown on how they work and when they apply.

Dram Shop Laws: An Overview

In a nutshell, dram shop laws are laws that “hold businesses liable when they serve or sell alcohol to minors or observably intoxicated persons who later cause death, injury, or property damage.” Normally speaking, dram shop laws are further broken down into two categories: first-party cases and third-party cases.

Third-party cases are, as the name suggests, those which involve a “third-party” victim of drunken behavior. In these cases, dram shop laws give said victims the ability to file civil lawsuits against both the intoxicated person that caused them harm and the establishment that excessively served the customer, potentially receiving damages from both parties, provided they can provide the necessary level of proof.

The items that a plaintiff will need as proof might vary, but often include “proof that the establishment sold alcohol to the visibly intoxicated person,” along with “evidence that the establishment’s alcohol sale resulted in the defendant’s intoxication.”

First-party cases are slightly different, and refer to instances where the intoxicated individual sustains some injury, and brings a suit against the establishment for overserving them. As one might imagine, even in locales where first-party suits are legal, they are difficult to prove, as most juries are of the opinion that an individual is responsible for their own drunken behavior.

Bottom line, though, is that the liability that a bar has in a DUI accident varies according to the laws from state to state. In order for a bar to be held accountable, plaintiffs will often need to bring forth substantial proof showing that an establishment acted in error.

Share This:

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.