What is a Dram Shop?
Not many people know what dram shop laws are or whom they are meant to help. Dram shop is a term that refers to a bar or tavern originating in England where they would sell small amounts of alcohol called a dram.
Dram shop laws have been enacted in order to hold bars and taverns accountable when they over serve alcohol to a customer and that customer then drives and injures someone in a motor vehicle accident.
Dram Shops and Victims
43 states have some sort of dram shop law in effect, and most of those require that the person be obviously intoxicated when the bar over serves them.
Dram shop laws are designed to help the victims and victim family members in DUI accidents, many of which result in serious injury or death. The reasoning for these laws is that if this bar had not negligently over served this defendant, this defendant would not have gotten in an accident injuring these victims.
They are designed to hold the bars and taverns accountable for their patron’s consumption of alcohol and making sure that it is done in a safe manner.
Like many other states, Arizona will hold an establishment responsible if they sell alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person. Obviously intoxicated is defined as so intoxicated that it affects a person’s physical actions so that those actions appear to be significantly uncoordinated or dysfunctional to a reasonable person.
This means that the person needs to be so drunk that the bartender could see it.
If you have been involved or have had a loved one involved in a motor vehicle accident with a DUI driver you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately.
An attorney will be able to assess the accident and the facts of the case and inform you as to whether the bar or tavern can be held liable for damages from the accident.