Bars and other hosts are required to be responsible when they serve alcohol. It is their job to make certain that someone who is dangerously drunk is not served alcohol. If someone is served alcohol when he is clearly drunk and he hurts or kills someone, the individual or business that served the alcohol can be held financially responsible. This is because of Pennsylvania dram shop law. Also known as “social host liability,” dram shop law generally becomes an issue in car accidents, when the person who was drinking drives a car and injures someone. Dram shop law can come up in other areas as well when injuries result after serving minors or providing alcohol after legal hours.
The $12.7 million dollar case involves a man who drank in excess of 30 drinks over the space of 8 hours. He drank in a sports arena, 3 bars and a van that was transporting him. Later in the evening, he drove a car, ran a red light and hit a vehicle containing three people, all of whom died due to the collision. The driver claims he freely drank because he expected someone else to drive him home. He and witnesses also claimed that the driver was visibly intoxicated to the extent that he should no longer have been served alcohol. He drove home when he could not find his designated driver.
The victims’ families claimed that due to his level of intoxication, none of the businesses should have served the driver. In the end, the families received a total of $12.7 million dollars.
Both individuals and businesses have an obligation to be aware of and provide appropriate amounts of alcohol to those at their home or business. If you lost a loved one due to a drunk driver and believe that he was drunk due to violations of dram shop law, you might have additional options for financial compensation besides the drunk driver’s insurance. Contact the Pennsylvania auto accident lawyers of Lowenthal & Abrams to discuss your options.