When a restaurant or other establishment sells alcohol to an intoxicated customer, that business may be liable if the customer injures another person. This is known as dram shop law. Often times, the drunk driver is not the only one responsible for the accident. In fact, not only can a drunk driver be held liable for injuries caused in an alcohol-related car accident, but so can a bar, nightclub, or restaurant that served alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated individual who caused the car accident.
Unfortunately, establishments often put profits before the safety of others. When bar owners or employees knowingly serve alcohol to a customer who is visibly intoxicated, they are putting innocent lives at risk if the drunk patron gets behind the wheel. Marciano & MacAvoy, P.C. is familiar with the Pennsylvania dram shop act and is here to expose this wrongdoing. Our Philadelphia dram shop attorneys represent victims of drunk driving accidents across Pennsylvania, seeking to hold at-fault establishments responsible.
For a free review of your case or questions about the Pennsylvania dram shop act, call (215) 608-2183 or contact us online.
Are Bars Liable for Drunk Driving Accidents Caused by Patrons?
Under Pennsylvania dram shop law, an injured person or the family of a person killed by an intoxicated person can file a lawsuit against an establishment for overserving alcohol to a clearly intoxicated person. Another driver, passengers of either the victim’s or drunk driver’s car, the family of a person killed by a drunk driver, and even the drunk driver themself has standing to sue purveyors of alcohol under dram shop laws.
The policy behind dram shop laws is to motivate businesses serving liquor to put public safety before profitability. By extending liability to bars for injuries caused by their intoxicated patrons, businesses will be deterred from overserving alcoholic beverages, minimizing the occurrence of alcohol-related injuries by keeping people from becoming too intoxicated. These laws make liquor businesses face responsibility for their part in alcohol-related incidents that lead to injury and helps prevent such safety hazards by attacking the issue at its source.
Is Liability for Overserving Intoxicated Patrons Limited to Drunk Driving?
Although the majority of dram shop cases involve drunk driving, dram shop liability may also apply in cases involving assaults, bar fights, and other crimes. For example, if an intoxicated customer inside a restaurant or bar assaults another patron, that victim can file a personal injury action against the owner of the bar to recover for the injuries caused by the customer. In some cases, the intoxicated patron may have had a history of altercations in a particular bar. If a patron was over-served, left that establishment, and went on to commit a violent crime such as an assault, that bar/establishment may be held financially responsible.
When Does Third Party Liability Apply?
Third party liability may apply in a drunk driving accident case if any type of commercial establishment overserved the drunk driver. This means that they violated liquor laws and served, continued to serve, or failed to cut off a patron who was obviously intoxicated. If they overserved, and an innocent person paid the price, our Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyers are there to see that justice is served.
Committed to Stopping Overserving in Philadelphia & Across Pennsylvania
Dram shop laws are in place to deter establishments from negligent alcohol serving. Establishments and individuals who are providing alcohol are obligated to prevent drunk driving accidents, assaults, and other dangerous situations by refusing to serve people who are visibly intoxicated. If they violate this duty of care, they can face civil liability and even criminal fines and penalties in some cases.
Contact a Philadelphia dram shop law attorney at (215) 608-2183 to learn more about these laws and your rights as the victim of a drunk driver.