Dram shop laws place liability on establishments, such as bars, that sell
alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals. If a business is found to
have sold alcohol to a person who was intoxicated at the time of the sale,
they can also be held responsible for any injuries caused by the drunk
person. These injuries can include those sustained in
motor vehicle accidents,
pedestrian injuries, assaults, or other actions that result in harm. In New York, only the
injured party can sue the business for damages.
Limitations to Dram Shop Laws
These laws forbid the sale or service of alcohol to people who are visibly
intoxicated, but it can be difficult to establish this. If a patron shows
an obvious lack of coordination, inability to stand, or other sure signs
of drunkenness, it is easy to tell they are intoxicated. All other cases,
employees must make a judgement call. There are signs, such as bloodshot
eyes, slurred speech, and difficulty maintaining eye contact, which can
indicate inebriation. It is impossible to truly calculate a person’s
level of intoxication without knowing how many drink the person has consumed,
the length of time they’ve been drinking, if they have consumed
food, their body weight, and a number of other factors that contribute
to the effects of alcohol. Employees rely on their own intuition when
making the decision to sell alcohol to a customer.
The laws also requires that the sale be made directly to the intoxicated
individual, and not to someone who later gives them the drink. You will
need to prove the establishment did sell to the individual in question,
and they were not receiving alcohol from another party, such as a friend or date.
Proving Your Dram Shop Claim
If you have been injured by a drunk person, you may be able to pursue a
claim against the establishment that sold them alcohol, under dram shop
laws. In order to do so, however, you will need to prove several factors.
Proving these factors can be difficult, but a qualified
drunk driving accident attorney will know the right questions to ask and how to gather evidence for your claim.
You will first need to prove that they persons who injured you was drunk.
Evidence may be obtained from police records or their own admission. Next,
you will need to prove that the business did sell alcohol to the person
who injured you. Your attorney may examine security camera footage, sales
records, or interview witnesses to prove this event. Finally, you must
prove that the establishment caused or contributed to the intoxication
of the person who injured you.
Proving liability can be a difficult undertaking. An experienced lawyer
can help you investigate your accident and discover if more than one party
is liable. If so, they will be able to develop a plan to file your claim,
and can advocate for you in court if your case goes to litigation. Cases
involving multiple parties can easily become complicated, and you should
consult your attorney about how best to proceed. There can be conflicts
of interest and other factors to consider, but your lawyer will be able
to advise you how to handle your claim.
Our team of dedicatedNYC drunk driving accident attorneys are prepared to assist you with your claim. If you have been injured by
an intoxicated individual and there may be more than one party responsible
for your accident, we can tackle the complex process of proving liability.
We have over 100 years of collective experience for you to trust in, and
we have recovered more than $500 million for our clients.
Contact Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP to find out how we can assist you.