DRUNK DRIVING AND DRAM SHOP LIABILITY
Bars, restaurants, clubs and other venues have a responsibility for the people that enjoy alcoholic beverages on their premises. Far too often, people are over-served at these establishments and make the foolish decision to drive home. When drunk drivers hit the road, mayhem is usually not too far away. Fortunately, the state of New Jersey has laws in place to punish those who over-serve patrons. These laws are known as dram shop liability laws. Here’s what you need to know about dram shop liability to protect yourself from drunk driving.
Third-Party Dram Shop Liability
Third-party dram shop liability refers to an incident where the injured person is anyone other than the intoxicated individual. If you or someone you love is hit by a drunk driver, your claim will most likely fall under third-party liability.
Under New Jersey law, an injured party has the right to sue not only the intoxicated individual, but also the premises, or social host, who provided that person the alcohol. Specifically, state law dictates that provided the over-served person was “visibly intoxicated” or the premises or bartender serving them had credible evidence to believe they were intoxicated or had reason to know that the person was under 21 years of age, the social host or premises bear some of the liability for the accident and any subsequent injuries.
Proving Dram Shop Liability in New Jersey
For a dram shop liability claim to succeed, it is essential that the establishment or host who provided the alcohol acted negligently by over-serving the drunk driver. Typical examples of the evidence needed to prove liability include:
- No identification to prove age was requested by the staff
- The person served was visibly intoxicated
- Staff served a person after closing time
- They knew someone was likely to become drunk from the amount of alcohol being ordered and served.
On the contrary, many juries tend to side with premises who promote actions which highlight their dedication to minimizing the risk of drunk drivers. Typical policies like these include:
- Encouraging customers to take taxis
- Sending bartenders and servers to educational courses
- Promoting non-alcoholic beverages
Should these policies be proven by the establishment New Jersey juries often seek to punish the driver for their actions, believing they should be held accountable.
Contact an Experienced Dram Shop Attorney Today
If you suffered at the hands of a drunk driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries, any missed work, as well as any mental anguish. Depending on the particular circumstances of your case, you may be able to hold both the drunk driver and the bar, restaurant, or host who over-served them. If you are the victim of negligence under dram shop liability, you owe it to yourself to get the best lawyer possible. Speak with a skilled New Jersey personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of James C. DeZao, P.A. today. Our firm provides expert dram shop law services and is here to assist you with your claim. Call us at (973) 358-6134 for a free consultation.