Dram Shop Lawyer

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What is a dram shop law? 

A dram shop law, which is deals with an area of law generally referred to as “dram shop liability” or simply “dram shop,” covers any type of civil action brought by an injured party against one or more persons who are involved in the serving, distributing, or sale of alcohol.  Their liability arises out of sales to an intoxicated person who later gains access to a vehicle or other dangerous instrumentality and causes injury or death. 

The most common form of dram shop case alleges that a bar unlawfully served too much alcohol to a visibly drunk patron. However, dram shop cases can also involve injuries caused by an intoxicated person who was served at a grocery store, home party, or other location. Common dram shop cases also include:

  • serving minors
  • providing alcohol to an intoxicated person who then drives and injures someone else 
  • providing alcohol to an intoxicated person who then commits a crime such as a rape or assault
  • premises liability
  • negligent hiring
  • negligence per se

Dram shop laws vary significantly from state to state. The dram shop law in Pennsylvania is a state statute that deals with the liability of alcohol servers and owners of alcoholic venues. The PA dram shop law is codified at 18 Pa. C.S.A. § 4-493. This statute imposes civil liability on any “alcoholic beverage vendor” who sells, furnishes, or serves an alcoholic beverage to a person who is visibly intoxicated.

The consequences of violating the dram shop law in Pennsylvania can be severe. A violator may be subject to a civil lawsuit by an injured party and could face punitive damages if the injured party can prove that the violator’s conduct was willful or wanton. In addition, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) may take administrative action against a violator, including the suspension or revocation of the party’s liquor license.

How can a Pennsylvania dram shop lawyer help you?

A dram shop lawyer in Pennsylvania can help you if you have been injured as a result of a violation of the state’s dram shop law. For example, you may have been injured in a car accident caused by an intoxicated driver who was over served at a bar. You may also have been the victim of a crime that was committed by an intoxicated person who was served alcohol at a party or other event.

A skilled dram shop attorney can investigate the circumstances of your injury and determine whether you have a valid claim against the serving establishment. The lawyer will also help you file a lawsuit against the establishment and will represent you in court if your case goes to trial.

Your dram shop lawyer will likely first attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company for the establishment that served the alcohol. However, some cases cannot be resolved without filing a lawsuit and going to trial. Fortunately, our knowledgeable dram shop lawyers have a great deal of experience in litigating these types of cases and can help protect your rights. If you have been injured and need legal advice concerning Pennsylvania’s dram shop law, please contact our law firm.

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