When someone over-serves a person with alcohol, they become a danger to themselves and the wider community. Sometimes, these individuals can cause accidents while driving a car after having too much to drink. These accidents can lead to property damage, bodily harm to innocent people, or worse, death. Here’s what you need to know about protecting yourself by understanding New Jersey dram shop law.

New Jersey Dram Shop Law

Dram shop law is under New Jersey Statute 2A:22A, which we otherwise know as the New Jersey Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Fair Liability Act. This legal statute states that a person that sustained injuries due to an intoxicated individual has the legal right to pursue financial damages from the vendor who sold the individual the alcohol if:

  • They continued serving alcoholic beverages even though the person was “visibly intoxicated”.  New Jersey Statute 2A:22A-3 defines “visibly intoxicated” as “a state of intoxication accompanied by a perceptible act or acts which present clear signs of intoxication.”
  • The vendor either served or sold alcohol to a person under the age of 21 (a minor) or had reason to believe that the person was a minor.

Dram Shop Liability

First-Party Liability

Under New Jersey Dram Shop law, first-party dram shop liability is any instance where the injured party is the person that they over-served the alcohol to. First-party dram shop liability claims are much more difficult to prove that third-party dram shop liability cases; as juries often side with the social host or licensed premise. The reason for this is that many juries find that those who sustained injuries as a result of others over-serving them should be accountable for their own actions and choices.

One area, however, where first-person liability claims are often successful is underage drinking. Particularly at bars, nightclubs, or other licensed premises.

Third-Party Liability

Third-party dram shop liability applies to those people injured by a drunk individual. Under the state of New Jersey law, an injured party may sue the premises or social host who provided the drunk person the alcohol if they were over-served. Specifically, the law states that the over-served person must have been “visibly intoxicated” when they were served alcohol; or the premises staff must have had credible reason to know the person was a minor. Should either statement be true, state law places part of the responsibility on the dram shop.

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Dram Shop Attorney Today

If you suffered at the hands of an intoxicated individual, you have the right to seek compensation: for your injuries; your economic losses from missed work or other events; as well as your mental anguish. Depending on the particular circumstances of your case, you may be able to hold both the drunk person and the host who over-served them. If you are the victim of dram shop negligence, seek only the finest expert legal guidance right away. Speak with a skilled New Jersey personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of James C. DeZao, P.A. today.  Our firm provides dram shop law services and is here to assist you with your claim. Call us at (973) 358-6134 for a free consultation.