friends tapping wine glasses


The holiday season is one of the most exciting times of the year! From festive music and treats to fun social gatherings with friends and loved ones, what’s not to love about this time of the year? One of the drawbacks of so many great parties is the risk for serious injuries at the hands of an overly intoxicated person. What many don’t realize, however, is that New Jersey Dram Shop law doesn’t only apply to vendors – but also party hosts. Hosting a holiday party? Be aware of New Jersey Dram Shop Law.

Dram Shop Laws and Host Liability

Dram Shop Law and Social Host Liability are covered under New Jersey Statute 2A: 22A-4, which states that any individual who was injured by an intoxicated person or persons may seek damages from the vendor who served the alcohol, provided:

  • The vendor should have reasonably known that the person served was a minor under the age of 21.
  • The vendor served a visibly intoxicated individual.

new jersey dram shop law

Far from only licensed premises, dram shop law covers anyone injured as a result of an intoxicated person at a party or other social gathering. When it comes to social gatherings, the laws regarding who provided the alcohol are much broader in scope. For example, it states that allowing guests to serve themselves alcohol at a party would make the party’s host the provider of the alcoholic beverage, even if they did not purchase the alcohol themselves. This means that you must be extremely vigilant if you are hosting a holiday party this December.

What Can Happen If Someone Sustains Injuries Because Of An Over-Served Guest At Your Party?

If someone is injured at the hands of an intoxicated person, they are entitled to seek damages from the vendor or social host if the following conditions can be met:

  • The host or vendor provided the alcohol to the individual under the state’s definition of “provided”.
  • The individual was visibly intoxicated in front of the host.
  • The alcohol was provided with reckless disregard for the consequences.
  • The providing of alcohol created a situation where “unreasonable” risk of harm to life and property was present.

The statute of limitations for any claim is two years after the date of the accident. Monetary damages recoverable from vendors or party hosts as a result of dram shop liability include:

  • Medical bills and hospital bills.
  • Rehabilitation and therapy costs.
  • Property damage incurred.
  • Lost wages as a result of the injury.
  • Pain and suffering damages.

In addition, the injured person may receive compensation for child care or other household services that they may have otherwise performed were they not incapacitated, as well as any punitive damages, as outlined under New Jersey state law.

new jersey dram shop law

If You Think You May Be Liable for an Accident, Call DeZao Law Today

When a drunk driver injures someone in an accident, they may be able to claim compensation. Not only from the driver but also from whoever provided them more alcohol than they should have. If you fear you may be subject to a lawsuit because someone sustained injuries at the hands of a guest at your holiday party,  seek expert legal guidance right away. Speak with an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney today at the Law Offices of James C. DeZao, P.A. Our firm provides dram shop law services and are here to assist you with your case. Call us at (973) 358-6134 for a free consultation.