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Here's Everything You Should Know About Dram Shop Law

Dram Shop Law

Dram shop law protects you if intoxicated people have harmed you. It can be used to hold social hosts accountable for selling alcohol to minors or those who are already intoxicated, and it's a good way to ensure that bars are following the rules when serving alcohol. Dram shop laws vary from state to state, so it's important to know what your state does before deciding whether or not this will apply in your specific situation. Make sure to learn more about dram shop law because your research will help you take action accordingly.

State-specific law

The specifics vary from location to location, but a general outline of each state's dram shop law is that:

  • If a minor purchases alcohol at a bar or restaurant and then gets injured due to intoxication (i.e., falls over or passes out), then the establishment will be held responsible; this is called "permissive liability."
  • If an intoxicated person has been served by a bartender or server after being asked not to do so (for example, ordering another drink), then they can sue under this form of liability known as "non-permissive liability."

The best way to learn more about dram shop law is by consulting your state's statutes, but here are some basics:

  • You can't be sued if you didn't know the person was underage (or had had too much).
  • You can only be sued if you sold them alcohol at least once; otherwise, it would be considered "consent" and thus not actionable under dram shop law—even if they were underage!

Many states limit who can sue under a dram shop law. Some states only allow claims from injured patrons, while others allow claims from anyone who has been served alcohol or drugs at the establishment.

Eligibility for Compensation

In some states, you may be able to recover only the cost of medical expenses and lost wages for yourself if you're part of a group that an employee or bartender served alcohol or drugs at an establishment where alcohol is sold for consumption on or off premises (Dram Shop Liability Act). Suppose your friends were also injured by being served alcohol by this individual bartender/employee. In that case, they may be able to sue under this law depending on how many people were affected by their actions.

Other states require a visible injury caused directly by intoxication rather than merely being in proximity to someone drinking too much. Sometimes this means proving both direct causations between falling down the stairs after drinking too much and getting hit with something later, such as someone falling into them while walking downstairs together. It is because they both got drunk and couldn't walk straight anymore due to being hung over after drinking too much all night!


Now that you know the basics of dram shop law, it's time to find out what options are available for you. You may be wondering if there is any way to get compensation for your injuries or lost wages if you've been harmed in this way. If so, check out our website and see if we can help. We'll help you with your legal needs -- from custody battles to divorce negotiations!

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