Dram Shop Duties to Member of the Public

Drunk Driver Accident Lawyer, Massachusetts

Drunk Driving Social Host LawsBars, restaurants and night clubs will be responsible for any injuries caused by an intoxicated customer if the bar violated its duty to members of the public. A  commercial establishment has a duty to protect members of the public from intoxicated patrons and will be found to have breached its duty if it served alcohol to a patron that was visibly intoxicated.

In order for a member of the public to bring an action against a commercial establishment for injuries sustained by an intoxicated patron that was over served, the injured party must prove the following:

1) The patron that caused the injuries was served intoxication liquor/alcoholic beverages at licensed establishment;

2) The patron was intoxicated at the time he was served his last drink;

3) The commercial establishment either knew or reasonably should have known that the patron was intoxicated when served his or her last drink;

4) The intoxicated patron operated a motor vehicle or committed an assault while intoxicated.

Holding a commercial establishment liable for serving alcohol to an intoxicated patron who goes on to injure another person in an assault and battery or a drunk driving accident centers on whether the patron was exhibiting signs of obvious intoxication at the time he was served his last drink. Evidence must show that it was more likely than not that the patron was exhibiting obvious signs of intoxication at the time he was served his last alcoholic beverage. A jury presented with evidence that a patron was served excessive amounts of alcohol over a short period of time could allow a jury to make the determination, based on personal experience and common sense, that the patron must have been exhibiting obvious signs of intoxication simply given the amount of alcohol he or she had consumed.

Eyewitness testimony based on direct observations made by other patrons describing the patron in question as either “falling over his own feet,” “loud and argumentative,” or “Shitfaced” could lead a jury to conclude that these eyewitness observations indicate that the patron was exhibiting signs of obvious intoxication at the time he was served his last drink.

If the drunk patron leaves the establishment in a car and gets into a drunk driving accident then chances are he or she will be charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol (OUI). In that situation the police will perform field sobriety tests that will document the extent of the patron’s intoxication. If the patron is arrested and booked at a local police department he or she will be asked to perform and breathalyzer test. Anything above a 0.08 blood alcohol content level is evidence of intoxication. The higher the blood alcohol level the more alcohol the establishment served. Also, if the drunk patron is taken to the hospital due to his or her own injuries after a drunk driving accident, the hospital will likely draw blood in order to provide proper medical treatment. If the drunk patron is prosecuted for drunk driving, the local district attorneys office will request blood samples from the hospital as part of a criminal trial. The district attorneys office will be able to use the blood sample to determine the patron’s blood alcohol content. This information can be used in a subsequent civil case.

Quincy Drunk Driver Accident Attorneys – We Hold Bars and Clubs Accountable For Their Actions

Free, No-Obligation Legal Consultation

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, the new dram shop liability laws 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 for any injuries and damages that result from negligently over-serving patrons who go on to cause an accident and injuries.

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. Call our office today or email us to schedule a free consultation.

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