Liquor (Dram Shop) Liability

If you have been injured in a DUI accident or another accident involving an intoxicated person, you might be entitled to compensation for your damages under Indiana’s personal injury laws. When a person causes an injury, that person can be held liable for the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other losses. The law provides a way for victims to seek compensation.

However, when an intoxicated person causes the injury, Indiana’s Dram Shop Act may also make the person who furnished the alcohol liable for damages. If a drunk driver or intoxicated person has injured you, call 1-800-265-9881 now to speak with an Indianapolis dram shop liability attorney.

You Can Talk to Someone Right Now About Your Dram Shop Claim!

You can also chat with a representative 24/7 online to get the help you need now! You do not need to wait another minute to get answers to your questions about a dram shop injury claim.

Contact Poynter & Bucheri, LLC by calling 1-800-265-9881 for a free consultation with one of our Indiana dram shop attorneys.

What is Dram Shop Liability?

Dram shop refers to a bar, restaurant, or other business that serves alcohol. Businesses that serve alcohol have a duty and legal responsibility to serve alcohol responsibly.

Under Indiana’s dram shop laws, a business that serves alcohol to a minor or to a person who is already intoxicated can be held legally liable if that person causes harm to another person because of the intoxication. For example, if a bar continues to serve a customer who is obviously drunk and that person causes a DUI accident. Under dram shop laws, the bar may be sued and held liable for the damages caused by the DUI accident.

In some states, dram shop laws are limited to commercial establishments. Other states have limited dram shop laws that apply to private individuals or social hosts who serve alcohol at a party or other function. Indiana’s dram shop laws are very broad. The law does not make any distinction between a commercial establishment or a private individual.

If anyone knowingly gives alcohol to a person who is intoxicated, that person or business can be held liable if the intoxicated person causes an injury or death. Consequently, dram shop laws in Indiana cover restaurants, bars, liquor stores, convenience stores, hosts of private parties, and hosts of company parties.

Therefore, anyone serving alcohol needs to understand Indiana’s dram shop laws and be very careful to avoid liability for serving alcohol to an intoxicated person.

Why Do Dram Shop Laws Exist?

Indiana is not the only state with dram shop laws. Dram shop laws are not designed to eliminate the responsibility that a drunk driver or another intoxicated person has for causing an injury. The person should be held liable for the negligent and reckless act of causing an injury because of intoxication.

However, dram shop laws allow a victim also to seek compensation from the party who furnished alcohol to an intoxicated person. An establishment or person who continues to serve an intoxicated person and allows that person to act irresponsibly, such as operating a motor vehicle, should also be held liable for their portion of the liability.

Proving Fault Under Indiana’s Dram Shop Act

To be liable under the Indiana Dram Shop Act, you must prove:

  • The alleged liable party who served the alcohol knew that the person receiving the alcohol was intoxicated. Proof of intoxication may include receipts showing the amount of alcohol consumed during a specific period and typical signs of intoxication.
  • The intoxication as the proximate cause of the injury. For instance, the alleged liable person continued to serve an obviously intoxicated person who then picked up his keys to drive his car to leave.

Proving liability under the Dram Shop Act can be difficult. You must provide evidence that establishes both factors. Establishing that the server knew of both the intoxication and the intoxication would be the proximate cause of an injury can be complicated.

Working with an experienced Indianapolis dram shop attorney is highly recommended. Call the PBAR legal team at 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review and free legal consultation with one of our Indianapolis dram shop attorneys.

Tips for Avoid Dram Shop Claims for Social Hosts

Because Indiana’s dram shop laws apply to social hosts, it is important for social hosts to take steps to prevent guests from causing an injury after consuming too much alcohol. Bars, restaurants, and other establishments provide training for servers, bartenders, and other employees to help avoid overserving an intoxicated patron. However, social hosts typically do not have special training.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) offers the following tips for social hosts:

  • Understand the Dram Shop Laws in your state, including your responsibility when furnishing alcohol to guests.
  • Consider holding your event at a business with a liquor license.
  • Encourage guests to choose a designated driver.
  • Provide alternative forms of transportation for guests who have been consuming alcohol.
  • Hire a professional bartender to help you identify guests who have had too much to drink.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption so that you can watch guests carefully for signs of intoxication.
  • Make sure that you have plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages available for guests.
  • Stop serving alcohol toward the end of the event and switch to coffee and other non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Do not encourage guests to consume alcohol by immediately replenishing alcoholic beverages.

As a host, you have a duty to serve alcoholic beverages responsibly. If you are worried about a dram shop claim, consider eliminating alcohol from your event.

For More Information About Dram Shop Liability Contact an Indianapolis Dram Shop Lawyer

Call Poynter & Bucheri, LLC at 1-800-265-9881 or (317) 780-8000 to request your free consultation with one of our experienced Indianapolis dram shop attorneys.

We will conduct a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances that led to your injury. If another party furnished the alcohol to the person who caused your injury, we will aggressively pursue a claim for damages under the Dram Shop Act.


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