What in the World is a Dram Shop Liability Claim?
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Mon Apr 2019
There’s a huge chance that you’ve never even heard of a dram shop liability claim. However, if you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, it’s something that might interest you. Read on to learn why.
If you’ve survived a crash involving someone driving under the influence, consider yourself fortunate. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, drunk-driving accidents claimed more than 10,000 lives in 2017. Broken down, this accounted for one person dying nationally every 48 minutes.
In the meantime, you may still wonder what all this has to do with your claim for accidental injuries. In New Jersey, the laws on dram shop start at NJSA 2A:22A-1, and fall under the short title of the “New Jersey Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Fair Liability Act.”
Most people will readily admit that the operator of any motor vehicle has responsibilities when it comes to getting behind the wheel and deciding to drive. However, under New Jersey laws, the onus can go a step further.
When you pursue a claim for personal injuries caused by a crash with a drunken driver, your attorney conducts a complete investigation. Among the issues look at, are where the negligent motor vehicle operator was prior to the accident.
New Jersey businesses that serve alcoholic beverages have obligations when it comes to intoxicated patrons. In fact, NJSA 2A:22A-5 provides some conditions when you might be able to recover damages because tavern or bar owners served someone who was obviously drunk.
Conditions for Dram Shop Liability
In case you’re still not clear, the term dram shop represents the liability imposed on commercial establishments in cutting off drunken patrons. It not only applies to taverns or bars but could also include restaurants, casinos and social clubs with liquor licenses.
Once again, there are conditions when it comes to making dram shop claims for recovery of damages. First of all, there must be proof that an accident caused personal injury or property damage. However, you can’t pursue a claim invoking the New Jersey Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Liability Act, without the following:
• Proof that the server negligently served alcoholic beverages to visibly intoxicated individuals.
• Evidence that the bartender or some other employee provided alcohol to a minor. This includes a requisite finding that the business knew or should have known the minor was underage.
• An indication that negligent service of alcohol to either category of people proximately caused the injuries or damages.
Not Only Automobile Accidents
Meanwhile, other types of personal injury claims also suggest the pursuit of dram ship legal actions. All things considered, a bar or nightclub might be liable if you were injured in a bar fight. Once again, that does not mean the person who assaulted you becomes absolved from prosecution.
Dram shop claims involving physical altercations come with other considerations. For example, one assumption includes that it wasn’t you that initiated the fight. Another submits that you and your attacker did not mutually agree to engage in combat.
Think of the visibly intoxicated patron who decides to throw a beer bottle at you. There’s the obscure chance the two of you had no disputes. However, you might have avoided facial lacerations had the bar stopped serving someone who was unruly due to overconsumption of alcohol.
The Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafajlo provides experienced legal representation to personal injury victims within Union County and the surrounding areas. Contact us to learn how we can serve you in recovering the damages you deserve.