Alcohol Awareness Month: Restaurant and Bar Owners’ Responsibility/Liability

23778888_mWhen people chooses to drink and drive, they can be held responsible for any injuries they cause, both criminally and civilly. But it can be very difficult for injury victims and the loved ones of those who are killed in drunk driving accidents to collect from drunk drivers who are convicted criminally and often do not have insurance. When a drunk driver was served alcohol in a bar or restaurant, the owner of the establishment may be found liable under dram shop laws. These laws are different in each state, and in some states the bar or restaurant owner can even be held liable for injuries to the drunk driver that they served.

The Basics of Dram Shop Laws

Holding a liquor license carries a lot of responsibility. In general, bars and restaurants can be held liable if they served alcohol illegally, and the person they served went on to cause an accident. In most states this includes:

  • Serving a person who is under 21 years old
  • Serving an adult who is visibly intoxicated

In some states, bars and restaurants can also be held liable for serving a known habitual drunkard, even if that person is 21 or older and not yet visibly intoxicated.

Taking Action

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a drunk driving accident, you must act quickly to preserve evidence if you are going to pursue compensation under dram shop laws. Each state is different in the details of who can be held responsible and under what circumstances, but in any state you will have to prove that the establishment served alcohol to the drunk driver. Search our qualified attorneys today

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