A man talking to a bartender at a bar

Dram shop law is a facet of New Jersey State Law designed to help those who were the victims of someone who was over-served by a dram shop. Under the law, a “dram shop” can be defined as premises where alcohol is provided. This definition can include, pubs, bars, taverns, clubs, social clubs, and other venues, as well as the hosts of social gatherings where alcohol is provided. But who is held liable under dram shop law in New Jersey? The bartender or the owner?

New Jersey Dram Shop Law

According to New Jersey Revised Statutes, Section 2A:22A-4, any individual injured in a drunk driving incident may seek damages from the licensed premises that sold the alcohol. Specifically, the law states that the person who was served the alcohol must have been “visibly intoxicated” when they were served, or the dram shop should have had reason to know the individual was under the age of 21. Should either of these statements be true, N.J. state law places some of the responsibility on the dram shop itself.

Dram Shop Accountability

As dram shops are considered liable under New Jersey law, the first step to any dram shop liability case is establishing that the licensed premises or social host were irresponsible in serving alcohol to the intoxicated person. Whether that individual was underage or visibly intoxicated, the dram shop should have exercised proper restraint and not provided alcohol to that individual concerned. The injured party may have significant medical bills, lost wages, or other forms of pain and suffering as a result of their accident. In fact, the premises or social host may be held accountable for any damages that directly occurred as a result of the accident.

Who Is Liable Under Dram Shop Law: The Bartender or the Owners?

So, who exactly does New Jersey law hold accountable for a dram shop accident? Simply put, dram shop law usually holds the licensed premises responsible for any damages caused by an intoxicated individual who was over-served on their premises.

Dram shop law holds the establishments – and in some cases, the owners – responsible as a means to encourage bars, taverns, and other venue owners to train their bartenders, servers, and other employees to properly recognize when a patron has become intoxicated and to cut off further alcohol sales to that individual.

Were You the Victim of Dram Shop Negligence?

Because of their liability under the State of  New Jersey law, the success or failure of any dram shop case is establishing the gross negligence of the premises or host in question. To help your claim against negligent premises or social host, you should consult with an experienced and knowledgeable New Jersey dram shop law attorney.

If you’re the victim of dram shop negligence, seek expert legal guidance immediately. Speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer today at the Law Offices of James C. DeZao, P.A. Our firm is here to assist you with your case. Call us at (973) 358-6134 for a free, no-obligation consultation.