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When Is A Bar Liable For Drunk Driving

Driving while drunk is a major hazard that may result in a devastating outcome. Primarily the responsibility of the individual who chooses not to obey the law after drinking, there is a case when a bar or restaurant might also be obliged to pay financial penalties for drunk driving after serving alcohol to intoxicated patrons who later cause an accident. This concept, known as “dram shop liability,” depends on state law, but it nonetheless is a crucial legal idea according to our friends at Herschensohn Law Firm, PLLC.

Understanding Dram Shop Laws 

Dram shop laws are the basis for charging alcohol vendors for having served alcoholic beverages to the persons who appear to be drunk or to minors who subsequently cause  damage to themselves or others.  A dram  is the unit of measure for alcohol used  in earlier times. 

How Liability Is Determined 

For a bar or restaurant to be held liable under dram shop laws, several criteria typically need to be met according to a car accident lawyer

Proof Of Service: 

 It must be shown that the bar owner gave the driver alcohol before he harmed other people. 

Visible Intoxication:  

The server provided alcohol to the person who was already inebriated. 

 Causal Link:  

The instrumental factor must be established: it should be proved that the injured or damaged person got drunk at the place first. 

Legal Implications For Businesses 

Bars and restaurants must ensure that servers are cognizant of the penal consequences of selling drinks to intoxicated customers. Not complying with dram shop laws can cause the situation of serious implications in respect of both legal and of financial nature. Establishment owners can be held responsible for litigations, extremely serious penalties, and the revocation of liquor licenses in some cases. 

Preventative Measures 

To mitigate the risk of liability, alcohol-serving establishments can implement several preventative measures: 

Staff Training:  

The staff should be taught to recognize drunkenness and their dos and don’ts and know when to refuse service to a person they believe may be drunk. 

Policies And Procedures:  

Set up clear policy regarding inebriated conversants and keep them strictly enforced all the time.


Track your employees training as well as deny service to intoxicated individuals to have incident records.
Real-World Examples

Dram shop laws are actually the most effective laws of all that ensure responsible alcohol service and deter people from driving under the influence. What restaurants and bars need, then, is a cautious eye on their serving practices in order to ward off any possibility of liability and save patrons and the general public the same. Thus, observing and obeying these regulations make the places where diners go more secure for all of us. 

If you are involved in a drunk driving accident, contact a lawyer near you for help.