Drunk drivers kill and injure an alarming number of people every year. Establishments that sell or serve alcoholic beverages by law are not allowed to sell alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons or to patrons under the age of 21. If they do, and if the intoxicated person then gets into an auto accident because they were too drunk to drive, it is possible to bring a premises liability claim against the establishment. Call our Columbia dram shop liability lawyers at Whetstone Perkins & Fulda to learn more.
What Is Dram Shop Liability?
“Dram shop laws” derive their name from the term for purveyors of liquor in generations past. As a knowledgeable Columbia attorney could further explain, dram shop liability refers to the liability of bars, restaurants, and liquor stores (or other businesses selling alcohol) for injuries caused by a customer who was over-served. In dram shop cases, these liquor establishments are usually held responsible for one of the following if the result is an accident:
- Selling alcohol to an underage driver
- Selling or serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person
When a bar, restaurant, or liquor store patron is stumbling or slurring their speech, they can be said to be visibly intoxicated. In these cases, the question is whether a reasonable person would have recognized that the person was too intoxicated to be sold alcohol.
The term “dram shop” comes from an outdated term for establishments that sold spirits when they were measured in “drams.” Today it refers to any business that sells alcoholic beverages.
Your Dram Shop Liability Case
The challenges in these cases are obvious: The key is to prove the bar, restaurant or other business knew or should have known that the customer should not have been served. As experienced Columbia attorneys, we know how to gather any and all evidence to support your dram shop liability case, such as:
- Surveillance video at the business
- Credit card or debit card transactions showing how much alcohol the person purchased and when
- Receipts and transaction records from the business showing what was served to the customer
- Any documentation or evidence from criminal proceedings or arrest records, if the person that injured you was arrested for DUI or another crime related to intoxication or the accident
- Statements of any witnesses to what happened in the accident and when the patron was at the bar or restaurant
Call Our Columbia Dram Shop Liability Attorneys Today
There’s nothing any of us can do to stop a person from buying a bunch of beer or other alcohol at a liquor store, taking it home, drinking it, and then getting behind the wheel. But patrons at a restaurant or bar can be stopped from over-consuming, particularly when they are visibly drunk or when they have had so many drinks that any reasonable person would assume they are intoxicated.
The Columbia dram shop liability lawyers at Whetstone Perkins & Fulda not only have extensive knowledge of and experience with these cases. Additionally, we have a wide network of experts we can use as resources for dram shop cases. We will begin building your case immediately and investigating whether a business is ultimately responsible for over-serving the person that injured you. Call today to speak with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.