South Jersey Dram Shop Liability Lawyer
Dram shop liability is the legal term used to refer to the liability of bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and other establishments that furnish alcohol when they overserve their customers or serve alcohol to minors, and accidents and injuries result that could have been avoided if the establishment had been obeying the law and serving alcohol safely. As a South Jersey dram shop lawyer, I have handled cases against bars and restaurants that negligently or unlawfully served customers or minors, and I have held them accountable for the serious or fatal injuries that resulted from their actions. If you or a loved one has a potential dram shop liability case in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, call me, Joseph Monaco. I will look into the facts surrounding your claim in this complicated area of law, and if you have a valid legal claim, I’ll put my decades of legal experience in premises liability and personal injury law toward getting you a strong result that fully compensates you for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Dram Shop Liability Under New Jersey Law
Under New Jersey and Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop laws, also known as host liquor liability, establishments that continue providing alcohol to customers who are clearly intoxicated can be held financially responsible for injuries that those intoxicated individuals later cause. In other words, if a bartender or server can see that a customer is clearly drunk, but refuses to cut that customer off, that bar or restaurant may owe you money if the customer goes on to injure you or a family member as a result of being drunk. Similarly, the social host laws will apply if a private host overserved one of their guests. If that guest was clearly drunk at the party, and the host who continued serving them alcohol did nothing to prevent them from getting behind the wheel, then that host could be held liable for injuries the drunken guest later causes in an accident.
Below are some of the most common ways individuals and businesses wind up liable for accidents and injuries under a dram shop theory of legal liability:
- Serving a person who is visibly intoxicated
- Serving a minor
- Selling or serving alcohol without a license
- Buying alcohol for a minor
- Failing to stop an underage drinking party at a hotel or apartment complex
- Leaving the liquor cabinet unlocked around unsupervised minors
- Hosting a party at which minors are present and drinking alcohol
- Hosting a party and overserving your guests
Drunk Patrons Can Cause Serious Accidents & Injuries
The most common injury tied to dram shop liability occurs when an overly intoxicated patron or a minor under the influence of alcohol gets behind the wheel and causes a car wreck on the road. Drunk drivers lack the reflexes, attention span, coordination, judgment, mental awareness, and other skills critical to safe driving. They are also less likely to slam on the brakes or swerve to avoid a crash before it occurs, making any car accident with a drunk driver much more forceful and severe than other wrecks. If it can be proven that the establishment violated New Jersey or Pennsylvania dram shop laws in regards to the drunk driver, the business can be held equally liable with the drunk driver for the injuries caused to an innocent third party.
Car accidents are the most common dram shop case, but they are not the only ones. Bars and nightclubs might also be responsible for bar fights, assaults in the parking lot, or sexual assaults on the premises that can be tied to the owner’s violation of New Jersey or Pennsylvania dram shop laws. A drunk patron or minor can also cause accidental injuries to others in other ways, such as knocking people over or pushing them down the stairs, falling over a balcony onto people below, or knocking objects off of balconies that strike a person below. Any premises liability injury that happens to a third party (not the intoxicated person him or herself) could potentially result in dram shop liability to the bar or restaurant.
Establishments that Serve Alcohol are Obligated to Do so Lawfully and Carefully
- Liquor Stores
- Private Hosts
- Country Clubs
Serving Atlantic City, Marlton, Cherry Hill, Vineland, Bridgeton, Millville, Camden, Trenton
Dram shop liability cases can be difficult to prove. As an experienced New Jersey and Pennsylvania trial lawyer who has been practicing personal injury law and premises liability law for decades, I know what kinds of evidence will be necessary to demonstrate that servers knew or should have known the patron was a minor or already intoxicated, and the link between the dram shop’s behavior and the resulting injury. My law firm will work to get full compensation for all your legal damages, including punitive damages when the actions of the bar or restaurant amount to gross negligence, recklessness or intentional harm. Call or text me at 609-277-3166 or 215-546-3166. I offer a Free Consultation with over 30 years of experience as well as the No Recovery, No Fee Guarantee.