Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu

What Are Dram Shop Laws?


Nobody gets behind the wheel of their vehicle in New Jersey or Pennsylvania and expects to be injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. These collisions can be devastating, resulting in severe and often life-threatening injuries. Following a drunk driving collision that causes debilitating injuries, it is important to understand your options for seeking compensation. In both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, motorists who are injured in collisions—even when those crashes are obviously caused by an at-fault drunk driver—will initiate the process of seeking compensation by filing a no-fault insurance claim through their own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. However, for serious injuries, it may be possible to sue a liable party.

In addition to the drunk driver, could other parties be liable for injuries in a drunk driving crash? Here is where dram shop laws become relevant. Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have dram shop laws, and our New Jersey and Pennsylvania car accident attorney can explain how these might impact liability in your injury lawsuit.

Understanding Dram Shop Laws in General 

What are dram shop laws? Generally speaking, these are laws that say a bar or restaurant owner, or other alcohol vendor, can be liable for injuries caused by an intoxicated person they served under certain circumstances. Some states do not not have dram shop laws, while others do. Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have dram shop laws, but it is important to know that these laws can vary from state to state. Accordingly, it is essential to know how a state’s specific dram shop laws may allow you to sue a bar or restaurant after a drunk driving accident.

Some states also have social host liability laws that say, in certain cases, that private homeowners can be accountable under certain circumstances for serving alcohol to a guest who causes a drunk driving accident. These laws, too, are state-by-state and tend to be more limiting in attaching liability.

Specifics of New Jersey and Pennsylvania Dram Shop Laws 

Pennsylvania’s dram shop law says that a bar or restaurant may be held liable for drunk driving injuries caused by a drunk driver if the establishment served alcohol to the drunk driver as a customer while that drunk driver was visibly intoxicated. In terms of social host liability, Pennsylvania says that a social host can only be liable for serving alcohol to an underage (under the age of 21) person.

New Jersey’s dram shop law says an establishment can be liable for injuries caused by a drunk driver if it served alcohol to a customer who was visibly intoxicated, or if it served alcohol to a customer known to be underage. New Jersey’s social host liability law is different from Pennsylvania’s, and it says that social hosts can be liable for injuries caused by a drunk driver aged 21 or older if the drunk driver was visibly intoxicated, or in some cases, when the social host served the alcohol.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Serving Injury Victims in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

 If you or somebody you love was injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you should speak with a car accident attorney about filing a claim. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, it is possible that the drunk driver and one or more other parties could be responsible for damages. Do not hesitate to get in touch with a New Jersey and Pennsylvania car accident lawyer at Monaco Law PC. Joseph Monaco is a New Jersey and Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer serving Atlantic County, Burlington County, Cape May County, Camden County, Cumberland County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Ocean County, Salem County and all of South Jersey.




Facebook Twitter LinkedIn