Massachusetts Dram Shop Liability Law

Boston / Brockton Drunk Driver Accident Lawyers

Social Host Liability For Drunk DriversIn Massachusetts law, a “dram shop” is any establishment that sells alcoholic beverages—a broad category that includes bars, restaurants, sports arenas, social clubs and liquor stores.

The liability at issue here is when the bar, restaurant, nightclub, etc. continues serving alcoholic beverages to an already clearly inebriated customer, who then goes on to be involved in a drunk-driving accident or a brawl inside or outside the establishment resulting in injury. (Of course, restaurants and bars can incur other types of liability common to retail establishments, such as slips and falls, but these have nothing to do with the consumption or serving of alcohol.)

Until recently, one of the main impediments to filing a dram-shop liability lawsuit (if you were injured in an accident or incident caused by an inebriated patron) was that dram shops were not required to carry liquor liability insurance. That all changed in 2010, when a new law was signed in Massachusetts requiring bars, restaurants and other dram shops to show proof of liquor liability insurance before they could obtain a liquor license.

Liquor liability insurance policies pay a minimum of $250,000 for injury or death to one person, or a minimum of $500,000 for more than one person killed or injured in the same incident.

Massachusetts Liquor Liability or Dram Shop Laws don’t just apply to situations involving drunk driving accidents. Any business that serves alcohol may also be held liable if they over-serve a patron and that patron commits an assault and battery or other violent crime on another patron.. Read more…

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If you were injured, or if your loved one was killed—in an accident involving an inebriated person who was inappropriately served in a bar, restaurant or nightclub, this new law means that the dram-shop owner cannot simply “plead poverty” and refuse to pay a claim.

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan will pursue the responsible bar, restaurant, nightclub, or liquor store, if it can be reasonably concluded that the accident was caused by the negligent serving of alcohol to an already inebriated customer.

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