New York Vendors Liable for Selling Alcohol to People Under 21 or “Visibly Intoxicated”
Dram shop (alcohol) liability involves the sale of alcoholic beverages. Specifically, Dram Shop laws prevent vendors from selling alcohol to certain categories of people. In New York, for example, Dram Shop law prohibits the sale of alcohol to any person who is “actually or apparently” under the age of 21. New York law also prevents the sale of alcohol to individuals who are “visibly intoxicated.” If a vendor breaks these laws and the intoxicated person causes injury, dram shop law holds the vendor liable.
The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing clients in personal injury lawsuits. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations. Our lawyers are available to answer any questions you may have about pursuing a case.
Violating dram shop laws invoke strict liability. Sometimes in a personal injury lawsuit, you must show that the defendant’s actions were negligent and that this negligence caused your injury. This is not the case for strict liability; plaintiffs do not have to prove negligence and instead show that the defendant is automatically liable for a certain activity.
When filing a dram shop lawsuit in New York, you must be able to prove several things. First, you must show that the intoxicated person injured you. You must also show that this person became intoxicated through the illegal commercial sale of alcohol. In New York, this would mean that a vendor sold to someone who is under the age of 21, or to a person that was visibly intoxicated at the time of sale. You must also show that the sale of alcohol resulted in this person’s intoxicated state.
Whether a person was “visibly intoxicated” at the time of sale is a challenging aspect of dram shop liability. In some cases, a person may be intoxicated but it is not obvious until much later.
An example of a dram shop liability case would be if a restaurant served alcohol to someone who is under the age of 21 and appears to be under 21. The restaurant does not ask this person for identification. The individual becomes intoxicated by purchasing alcohol from this restaurant and afterwards gets into a car accident, rear-ending the vehicle in front of them. Under dram shop laws, the restaurant would be liable.
Another example would be a bartender serves a drink to customer, even though they are falling over, slurring their speech, or vomiting. The customer becomes even more intoxicated and drives their car into a storefront, injuring customers. The dram shop act would hold the bar liable.
How to Pursue Dram Shop Litigation
What should you do if you were injured by an intoxicated person who was sold alcohol illegally? For example, if you were involved in a car accident with a drunk minor or a drunk driver who bought a drink at a bar while visibly intoxicated. If you are involved in this type of situation, you should seek medical attention immediately for any injuries.
You may not realize the severity of your injuries until later, so consider seeking medical treatment even if the injury seems minor.
Document the incident and your injury. This means taking photos of any physical damage, damage to your vehicle, and other aspects of the accident. Be sure to obtain the appropriate information from the intoxicated person who caused the injury, such as their license plate number.
Pursuing litigation for a dram shop case can obtain compensation for your injuries. This includes medical expenses, hospital bills, medication, and other related costs. Your injury may also cause you to miss time off from work or even lead to disability, pain and suffering, or loss of enjoyment of life.
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. You have a limited amount of time to file a personal injury lawsuit. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee; this means that you only pay if we win your case. You can also contact the firm with any questions you may have about dram shop liability or other personal injury litigation questions. We offer free legal, no-obligation legal consultations, meaning it is free to find out whether you qualify for a lawsuit.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Parker Waichman has decades of experience representing victims injured by negligence or misconduct. If you or someone you know was injured by someone else’s wrongdoing, you may have valuable legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).