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What Is a Dram Shop Lawsuit?

Scott Monge

Dram shop laws allow victims of drunk-driving accidents to pursue a legal claim against a business or establishment – such as a bar, liquor store, restaurant or tavern – that sold alcohol to a visibly impaired individual or minor who later injures or kills another person in an accident.

Dram shop laws can assist victims of drunk driving accidents to obtain damages that exceed what they may be able to obtain through insurance companies. However, you don’t necessarily have a dram shop claim just because the drunk driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher when he or she left the establishment. Remember, one of the criteria for a dram shop claim is that you must prove the offender was visibly impaired and was served alcohol anyway. Everyone’s body responds differently to alcohol, and a person may have a BAC that exceeds the legal limit and still not appear to be drunk.

But even if the bartender or liquor store clerk says that the drunk driver didn’t appear intoxicated, there are ways for our DUI lawyers at the Accident & Disability Attorneys of Monge & Associates to prove them wrong. Many night clubs and other businesses that serve alcohol also have video surveillance equipment in their parking lots, which may be able to provide visible proof that the person was physically impaired.

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