Effectively Pursuing a Dram Shop Case: What You Need to Know

What you’ll learn from reading this article:

  • The ins and outs of dram shop law
  • Why you should pursue a dram shop case
  • How to effectively pursue dram shop liability

Though drunk driving laws are quite strict, resulting in serious punishments and reparations, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that around 10,000 people still die annually from drunk-driving accidents. This equates to about 30 people a day, or one person every hour. With such a high number of individuals being injured or killed by drunk drivers, it’s no surprise that many states have implemented special laws to hold those responsible for the accidents accountable.

Though it might seem like the drunk driver is the one to hold accountable, some states have what is called “Dram Shop Law” or “Dram Shop Liability” which holds the person or establishment that served the alcohol as the responsible party. 

Dram Shop Law 101

A dram is an old apothecary term that was used as a measurement to mean a small amount of cordial or alcohol. Thus, bars and other establishments that served alcohol became known as dram shops. Today, there are many types of businesses and even private parties that can be held accountable in dram shop cases, including:

  • Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Taverns
  • Liquor stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Company or Corporate party hosts
  • Private party and social gathering hosts (this can even include friends and family hosting a gathering in their own home)

The basis of dram shop law states that establishments or social hosts that serve alcohol may be held liable if the intoxicated person causes an accident that results in death, injury, or damage. However, proving that the establishment or host is responsible is not that simple. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in Indiana, two points must be proven to hold a host or business liable:

  1. The person or establishment that provided the alcoholic beverage knew that the individual they were serving was intoxicated at the time that the beverage was served.
  1. The intoxication of the person to who the alcohol was provided was the proximate cause of the injury, death, or damage in the claim.  

Why Pursue Dram Shop Liability?

Though strict drunk-driving laws are in place to ensure safety and help curb the number of alcohol-related fatalities and injuries that occur, accidents still happen. And unfortunately, the drunk driver might not have adequate insurance, if any at all, to fully cover the cost of any damages or medical bills. This is when pursuing a dram shop case can be beneficial. Most establishments carry liability insurance that can cover costs and provide the compensation you are looking for. 

How to Effectively Pursue a Dram Shop Case

As mentioned above, two main things need to be proven to successfully pursue dram shop liability. And finding the proof necessary to confirm those two points can be challenging. You need to know where the intoxicated person was, what time they were there, who was working that night, and who served them. This can mean tracking down receipts for time stamps and proof that alcoholic beverages were purchased. It also means obtaining any video footage and records of employee names and who was working to figure out who served the individual in question.

Time is also crucial when it comes to these types of cases. In the state of Indiana, you have two years from the date of the injury or accident to file the claim. However, pursuing this type of case is most effective if the claim is filed as soon as possible. Waiting more than 30 days even can mean loss of evidence needed to prove an establishment accountable. Though they are supposed to keep all records, some businesses lose track of receipts and erase video footage after 1 to 2 months. For this reason, it is extremely important to contact a personal injury attorney with dram shop case experience as soon as possible.

Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery — Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys

If you sustained injuries from a drunk-driving accident and are interested in filing a dram shop claim, contact the accident recovery experts at Poynter & Bucheri. Our experienced dram shop attorneys will ensure you are properly compensated for your injuries and losses. For a free case review and legal consultation, call 1-800-265-9881 or contact us through our website today.