A dram shop is a legal term used in the United States to refer to a bar,
tavern, or similar establishment that sells alcoholic beverages. Traditionally,
the word “dram” referred to a unit of liquid in shops where
spirits were sold by that measurement.
Dram shop liability laws were passed in several states to help hold dram
shops liable for the sale of alcohol to visibly intoxicated people or
minors who later cause the injury or death of other people as a result
of drinking and driving.
In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Liquor Code, § 4-493(1) provides
the basis for dram shop liability laws regarding negligent service of
alcohol by those with liquor licenses. According to the code, it’s
illegal for any person employed in the sale or furnishing of liquor or
alcoholic beverages to serve any visibly drunk person, mentally ill individual,
minor, or known habitual drunkard.
According to § 47 P.S. 4-497, however, the server is not liable unless
they gave the customer alcohol when the customer was
visibly intoxicated. The law states that by serving a person who may be visibly intoxicated,
the owner or employee of an establishment is committing a breach of duty
to other patrons and individuals outside the bar. For example, if a bartender
gives one more drink to a customer who seems to be slurring his words
and stumbling, the customer could later leave the bar and drive home.
If that drunk customer crashes into another car or injures a pedestrian,
the bartender could be held partly liable for the damages. In order to
bring a dram shop claim, it must be proven that the improper service of
alcohol had a direct link to the accident.
If you’ve been harmed by a drunk driver, don’t hesitate to
call us. Our experienced
Harrisburg car accident attorneys have handled thousands of car accident cases and can help you review police
reports, medical records, and all other resources necessary to determine
the fair value of your case. Car accidents can lead to extensive medical
bills and potential lost wages for recovery time. These are costs you
shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s negligence. Talk to our
personal injury attorneys today about your case.
Contact us at (888) 286-2850 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.