If you are involved in an accident with an intoxicated person, you can file personal injury claims against the other party. New Jersey law also holds accountable the vendor who has irresponsibly sold liquor to the other party, which caused him or her to become more intoxicated and be a hazard to the community.

These claims are more commonly known as dram shop claims. The term comes from the word dram, a unit of measure used in selling alcoholic and intoxicating drinks.

New Jersey, unlike other states, has a specific statute for dram shop claims and damages. This prohibits alcohol vendors from selling alcoholic drinks to already-intoxicated customers.

Act 2A:22A is designed to protect the rights of the victims of accidents who suffer from the irresponsible selling of alcoholic beverages by a vendor to intoxicated people. A vendor proven to be guilty of doing so may be charged for negligence in a civil lawsuit.

An individual can claim personal injury damages from a licensed alcoholic beverage vendor or server if the following facts are proved:

  • The server continued serving alcoholic beverages to a visibly intoxicated person.
  • The server served alcoholic beverages to a minor.
  • The injury and damage incurred were caused by the negligent serving of alcoholic beverages.
  • The injury and damage incurred was a foreseeable effect of the negligent serving of alcoholic beverages.

Social Host Liability in New Jersey

New Jersey also allows the injured person to seek damages from any social host who provided alcoholic beverages to an already intoxicated person in a party or a social gathering.

An injured person can seek damages from a social host if the social host gave alcoholic drinks to an intoxicated person that caused the accident. The following conditions must also be met:

  • The person was clearly and visibly intoxicated.
  • The alcoholic beverages were distributed recklessly and mindlessly.
  • The act created an unreasonable risk that can cause harm to the community.
  • The intoxicated person caused a vehicle accident coming from the party.

Commonly Sought Damages for Dram Shop Cases in New Jersey

The injured person in a dram shop claim can file for personal injury damages against the alcohol vendor who negligently sold an already-intoxicated person more alcohol.

Hospital bills and other medical treatment

Most personal injury damages claims include the cost for medical care and other treatment incurred because of the accident in question. This includes medical care and treatment you have already received, as well as the estimated cost of the medical care you will need to get in the future because of the injuries caused by the accident in question.

Lost wages and other Income

Part of the compensation the injured will receive will cover lost salary and income because of the accident. This includes the salary you have already lost to the accident, and the salary you will not be able to earn in the future because of your injuries. This is referred to as the injured party’s loss of earning capacity.

Damaged property

If any property was lost or damaged due to the accident, the complainant will be compensated for his or her losses. Compensation will be based on the repair cost or the fair value market of the damaged property.

Pain and suffering endured by the plaintiff

Being involved in an accident which resulted in injuries can cause the victim to endure physical pain and suffering. You may be given compensation for this pain that you have endured during the accident and in the wake of its aftermath.

Emotional distress

The psychological and emotional impact brought about by the accident may be compensated as well. This can include episodes of anxiety, fear and sleep loss in the aftermath of the accident.

Household services and childcare the injured plaintiff could not perform.

Service fees for household and childcare services, which you cannot perform yourself because of your injuries, may also be compensated. Personal injury claims should be filed within two years of the date of the accident or the injury.

Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Cases in New Jersey

Punitive damages may be awarded to the injured victim, on top of the compensation for damages as discussed above. It may be awarded when the plaintiff can prove that the harm and injuries suffered were the results of the careless acts of the defendant.

The following shall be considered for the awarding of punitive damages:

  1. The chances that serious harm would result from the defendant’s actions;
  2. The knowledge and awareness of the defendant of the likelihood that serious harm will result from his conduct;
  3. The conduct of the defendant; and
  4. The duration of the conduct or any attempt by the defendant to hide it.

Seek a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer

Trust in the Law Office of James C. DeZao, P.A. to treat your legal battles seriously and with utmost care. Our experienced and committed personal injury lawyers are at your disposal, no matter how extensive or serious your case may be. Call us today at (973) 358-6134.