Dram Shop Liability
If a person suffers serious injuries as the result of a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver, the negligent motorist can be liable for medical bills and other damages but may not be financially able to compensate the victim. Depending on the circumstances that led to the drunk driver becoming intoxicated, a third party could also be liable for an accident victim’s injuries.
Lawsuits involving injuries caused by people who were driving under the influence (DUI) are governed by dram shop laws. The name comes from the liquid measurement of a dram that was used in colonial times by alcohol-serving establishments.
Under Pennsylvania’s dram shop law, a person who is injured by a drunk driver may have legal recourse against the bar, restaurant, or other establishment that served alcohol to the intoxicated motorist who caused the crash. Most businesses are prepared to deny responsibility for the actions of any drunk driver and will vigorously fight any attempt to be held liable for overserving patrons.
Dram Shop Liability Lawyer in West Chester, PA
If you sustained catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed by a drunk driver in Southeastern Pennsylvania, it will be in your best interest to have legal representation that will fight to get you the compensation you need and deserve.
The West Chester DUI accident attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices work as a team to get justice for clients in communities throughout Chester County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County, Lancaster County, and Montgomery County. Call (610) 719-3190 right now to set up a free, no obligation consultation that will let our lawyers review your case.
Chester County Dram Shop Litigation Information Center
- How does the dram shop law in Pennsylvania work?
- What kinds of injuries can victims seek compensation for?
- Where can I learn more about dram shop liability?
Pennsylvania Dram Shop Law
Pennsylvania Liquor Code § 4-493(1) prohibits any liquor licensee or employee thereof “to sell, furnish or give any liquor or malt or brewed beverages, or to permit any liquor or malt or brewed beverages to be sold, furnished or given, to any person visibly intoxicated, or to any minor.”
In a dram shop liability case, an accident victim will need to prove two things:
- The Negligent Party was Visibly Intoxicated or a Minor — If the drunk driver was under 21 years of age, then bar receipts can usually be adequate proof that a minor was served alcohol. Visible intoxication is a much tougher burden to prove, as most employees of the establishment will claim that the drunk driver did not exhibit any signs of intoxication. Experienced attorneys, however, may be able to find witnesses or use evidence of the amount of alcohol consumed by a drunk driver to prove that employees should have known the patron was overserved.
- The Alcohol Served to the Customer Directly Caused Injuries — In order for an establishment to be held liable under Pennsylvania’s dram shop law, the service of alcohol to an already intoxicated person must be directly linked to the automobile accident that caused the victim’s injuries. In other words, an establishment may not be liable if the intoxicated customer consumed more alcohol at another location after leaving or if several hours passed between leaving the establishment and the accident.
Types of Injuries in West Chester Dram Shop Cases
Most employees in bars, restaurants, and other establishments that sell alcohol in Pennsylvania are specifically trained to be responsible when serving alcohol. Despite these intentions, customers can often be overserved or illegally served drinks because of employees who were busy, inattentive, or more concerned about making money than possibly upsetting a customer by refusing to serve.
Regardless of an establishment or employee’s excuse for why customers were served when they were minors or already intoxicated, these decisions to serve alcohol to minors or visibly intoxicated people can have horrific consequences.
Some of the possible injuries suffered by victims of drunk driving accidents may include, but are not limited to:
- Brain Injuries;
- Knee Injuries;
- Spinal Cord Injuries;
- Internal Organ Injuries;
- Coma; or
In addition to the medical bills associated with the cost of treating these injuries, victims can also be entitled to compensation for a variety of other damages resulting from drunk driving accidents. Additional emotional and financial harm may include lost wages, property damage, and loss of consortium.
Pennsylvania Dram Shop Liability Resources
A Handbook About Responsible Sales of Alcohol for Pennsylvania Licensees — The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s Bureau of Licensing produced this handbook to help licensees guarantee successful business operations. Topics covered in the handbook include the Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP), hiring responsible managers and employees, and handling minors in an establishment. You can also learn more about signs of visible intoxication, find a quick reference list for help, and read answers to frequently asked questions.
Preventing Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Dram Shop Liability — The Community Guide is a website that houses the official collection of all findings of the Community Preventive Services Task Force, an independent, nonfederal, unpaid group of public health and prevention experts that was established by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in 1996. The Task Force concluded “on the basis of strong evidence that dram shop liability is effective in preventing and reducing alcohol-related harms,” and you can read results of its systematic review of 11 studies on this website. You can find various publications and supporting materials relating to dram shop liability.
Ciccarelli Law Offices – A Lawyer for Dram Shop Litigation in West Chester, Pennsylvania
Did you suffer serious injuries or was your loved one killed in an accident caused by drunk driver? If the negligent motorist was overserved by an establishment in Pennsylvania, you could be entitled to additional compensation for the harm you suffered.
Contact Our PA Personal Injury Lawyers
We are a team of Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyers our main offices located in West Chester, Chester County Pennsylvania and serving clients throughout the greater Philadelphia Metro Area including Lancaster County, Berks County, Bucks County, Delaware County and Montgomery County. If your family has been victimized by the negligence of another and you are seeking a free initial consult on you rights and possible claims, it is crucial you speak to an experienced Pennsylvania Injury lawyers in order to ensure your rights are protected and to review all of your legal options with you.
The Injury attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices have successfully represented individuals throughout the state of Pennsylvania that have been injured in accidents. Our Chester County based law firm is based at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380 and serves clients throughout Pennsylvania including but not limited to in Kennett Square, Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, Exton, Chester Springs, Chadds Ford, Landenberg, Lancaster, Media, Harrisburg, Reading, Philadelphia, Honey Brook, Oxford, Malvern, Parkesburg, Phoenixville and Paoli. Contact us now at (610) 692-8700 or call toll free (877) 529-2422. Don’t wait—contact an attorney immediately.