Liquor (Dram Shop) Liability

Dram cases are also known as "dram shop" claims. The word “dram” derives from a serving measurement of alcohol. Indiana allows dram claims to be brought against social hosts who serve alcohol as well. The following provides details on Indiana law when it comes to third party responsible for alcohol-related incidents or accidents.

WHAT IS INDIANA'S DRAM SHOP LAW?

Indiana Code section 7.1-5-10-15.5 states that a person who "furnishes" (including selling, serving, or giving) alcohol to a person who then causes injury to another is only liable for the injuries if:

  • the person who furnished the alcohol had actual knowledge that the intoxicated person was intoxicated at the time, and
  • the intoxication was a "proximate" or foreseeable cause of the injuries.

A DRAM SHOP CASE CAN BE MORE THAN DRUNK DRIVING

Frequently, a dram shop case focuses around alcohol-related car accident. However, we handle dram cases involving the following:

  • assault
  • property damage
  • bicycle riders
  • boating

LIABILITY EXTENDS TO SOCIAL HOSTS IN INDIANA

Indiana does not distinguish between licensed vendors serving alcohol and social hosts providing alcohol at parties. Therefore, vendors and social hosts are held liable if they furnish alcohol to a person that was known to be intoxicated and causes harm to another person as the result of the intoxication.

DAMAGES AND TIME LIMITS IN INDIANA DRAM SHOP CLAIMS

Dram shop claims and social host claims are civil lawsuits. This means they are brought to court by the injured person directly and liability is expressed solely in terms of money damages, which are typically awarded based on the losses suffered by the injured person, as established in court.

A DRAM SHOP LIABILITY CLAIM
CAN HELP COVER THE FOLLOWING COSTS:

  • medical, hospital, surgical, and rehabilitation bills
  • lost wages,
  • lost value of household services and childcare the injured person could have performed but for the injuries
  • damaged property, and
  • pain and suffering.

Indiana’s statute of limitation is two years from the date of injury regarding dram shop claims. The court will not hear your claim if the filing doesn’t occur within the time frame.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS ALONE

At Poynter & Bucheri, our attorneys act for people who have suffered damages because of the illegal sale of liquor in a tavern, nightclub or restaurant. Our clients in these matters also include the spouses, parents, children, guardians, employers or other people who are affected by the actions of the person served illegally. The intoxicated person is not eligible to make a claim for damages.

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