In New Jersey, drunk drivers who cause car wrecks do not always bear sole responsibility for their victims’ injuries. If they were coming from a bar or restaurant, you might also be able to get compensation from that establishment for the harm you have suffered.
Dram shop laws explained
That is due to the state’s liquor liability law, also known as a “dram shop law.” Essentially, dram shop laws hold third party businesses responsible for injuries to victims in DUI auto accidents when:
- The establishment knowingly served alcohol to a customer when the customer was clearly already intoxicated
- The establishment allowed the customer to drive away
- The customer got into a car accident due to being intoxicated, and
- Someone was injured as a result
In a famous case here in New Jersey, a jury ordered Aramark Corp. and a drunk driver to pay $135 million to a 7-year-old girl and her family after the girl was paralyzed in a car accident. Before the crash, the driver had attended a New York Giants football game, where vendors working for Aramark sold him several beers. His blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit after the crash.
This is an excellent example of the dram shop law in action. It holds bars, restaurants and caterers responsible for overserving customers. By contributing to a driver’s impairment, an establishment also indirectly contributes to any collisions the driver causes. It is only right that the establishment share in the legal duty to compensate the driver’s victims for things like lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
Holding businesses that overserve responsible for the consequences
Proving a connection between your drunk driving crash injuries and the actions of a restaurant, bar or other business that sells alcohol can be challenging. A skilled personal injury attorney will review the evidence and know if New Jersey’s dram shop law applies. Your lawyer’s top priority should be to obtain the most compensation possible for you.