New York State’s Dram Shop Act provides a cause of action to individuals who are injured due to a bar serving alcohol either illegally, without the proper SLA licensing, or, when a bar causes a visibly intoxicated person to be served alcohol. The underlying goal of The Dram Shop Act is to punish businesses that facilitate illegal drinking and to deter this conduct. Under the Act, illegal sale of alcohol is the selling of alcohol to children under 18 years of age or to visibly intoxicated patrons. Additionally, an individual injured as the result of a bar that violates the Dram Shop Act may be entitled to additional damages per the Act.
If you have been seriously injured by a bar patron that was underage, or served alcohol when visibly intoxicated, call our New York City litigation attorneys can Help.
The Dram Shop Act does not require a plaintiff in a personal injury action to show “proximate cause” as is usually required in a personal injury action, and only requires a showing of a “practical and reasonable connection” between serving alcohol illegally and the injury.
New York’s Dram Shop Act – The Origin
The Dram Shop Act is significant and doctrine well known by NYC’s personal injury lawyers with its name coming from far back legal history. The term was birthed in England referring to a liquid measure of alcohol.
The Application of the Dram Shop Act
The Dram Shop Act in New York refers to commercial establishments that serve alcoholic beverages for profit. Importantly, it does not apply to an individual hosting a summertime backyard get-together. To dig into whether or not the Dram Shop Act will be applicable, you can also look to whether the one providing the alcohol was doing so for a profit, and if they were, then the Act is likely to apply.
Was the Person Served Alcohol Visibly Intoxicated?
For application of the Dram Shop Act to attach, a person such as a bartender must be continually serving the individual and know of their impairment. However, in a case where a server brings a table of 6 at a New York City club a bottle of Jack Daniels, it is less likely that the server would know that one of those individuals drank excessively.
Bringing a Dram Shop Act Lawsuit
When do you have a Dram Shop Act cause of action in New York City? In a nut shell, the Dram Shop Act is meant to protect individuals who suffer an injury, such as an auto accident involving an intoxicated person, from establishments that break the laws enacted to protect against such serving of alcohol to drunken persons. Children are not entitled to bring a cause of action for loss of parental consortium if the child’s parent dies under the Dram Shop Act.
In many instances, an intoxicated individual leaves a bar after sitting at the bar for hours drinking alcohol excessively. That person then makes the unwise decision to get behind the wheel of an automobile and driver away. Not all establishments that serve beer and liquor have insurance that covers liquor liability, in which case the bar owners may have to named personally in case they are held liable.
Because the statute of limitations applies to an individuals right to file a claim, promptly contacting an attorney is advised.
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