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Dram shop laws

How do dram shop laws affect the outcome of car accident and drunk-driving crash claims?

Dram shop or dramshop is a legal term in the United States referring to a bar, tavern or establishment where alcoholic beverages are sold. Traditionally, it referred to a shop where spirits were sold by the dram, a small unit of liquid. Dram shop liability refers to the body of law governing the liability of taverns, liquor stores, and other commercial establishments that serve alcoholic beverages. Generally, dram shop laws establish the liability of establishments arising out of the sale of alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons or minors who subsequently cause death or injury to third parties (those not having a relationship to the bar) as a result of alcohol-related car crashes and other accidents. The laws are intended to protect the general public from the hazards of serving alcohol to minors and intoxicated patrons. Groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have advocated for the enforcement and enactment of dram shop laws across the United States as well as in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The earliest dram shop laws date from the 19th century temperance movement. The laws have drawn criticism by those who claim they downplay the role of personal responsibility. But many states allow for insurance claims against establishments who engage is unsafe practices like selling alcohol to someone who is obviously intoxicated.

What should you do if you were injured in a crash with a drunk driver?

If you suspect that the drunk driver who injured you had been drinking at an establishment and a dram shop claim may be a possibility, it is crucial to immediately document this and find all witnesses. Since witnesses are often very difficult to find and to interview, it is best to work with an experienced injury claim lawyer who will quickly launch an investigation, gather all available information, interview witnesses, and preserve a dram shop claim.
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