Hospitality & Restaurants, Risk Insight

Bars, Restaurants Responsible for Patrons’ Actions Under Dram Shop Laws

Dram shop laws allow establishments like bars and restaurants that sell alcohol to be held accountable for damage or injury caused by their patrons. There are 41 states with dram shop laws to varying degrees. Those states without dram shop laws are Delaware, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota and Virginia.

Dram shop cases can be very costly. For example, in New Jersey, the court awarded $135 million to the family of a child who was paralyzed in an accident caused by a drunk driver. The international food and beverage company who served the visibly drunk patron shared in the liability of the injury.

Two new cases have recently popped up in the news reminding us once again how prevalent and costly these lawsuits can be.

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