Liquor Liability or Dram Shop Actions

A “dram shop” is a drinking establishment where liquors are sold to be drunk on the premises. Pennsylvania imposes liability upon a seller of alcohol who serves a patron after that patron is visibly intoxicated and the patron then causes injury to himself or another as a result of that intoxication. See 47 P.S. Section 4-497.

As a society we have imposed upon sellers of alcohol the safety rule that a customer shall not be served once it is observed that the customer is drunk. This is a rule that exists because it protects all of us, even the person who has drank enough alcohol that he or she is no longer capable of making good judgments. If someone is caused injury or death by the act of a drunken person, we always investigate the potential “dram shop action.” We must learn the drunk person’s blood alcohol content and hire a toxicologist who is able to discern the meaning of the results and the effect that level of alcohol would have on that person. We would interview all persons who came into contact with the drunk before the incident to determine if anyone saw visible signs of intoxication such as slurred speech, lack of coordination or balance, or behavior that was unusual for that person. In discovery, we would determine what training the liquor seller gave to its employees to recognize the signs of intoxication.

The injuries caused by drunk drivers can be devastating. You need lawyers on your side who can effectively investigate and prosecute these cases.