Dram Shop Claims in Philadelphia
Drunk driving is a pervasive problem throughout the country. Last year in Pennsylvania alone, there were more than 11,000 alcohol-related car accidents. Nearly 8,000 Pennsylvanians were injured in these accidents, and 368 lost their lives.
If not for the diligent work of the police, these results would have been far worse. Nearly 65,000 Pennsylvanians were arrested last year for Drunk Driving. Drunk driving is a serious problem, and all parties responsible must be held accountable for their actions.
In Pennsylvania, this includes those who provide alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals. The law which allows injured parties to sue those who provide the alcohol is called the Dram Shop Act. If you have been the victim of a drunk driver’s actions, you may be entitled to compensation from both the driver and their bartender or the establishment or social host that provided them with alcohol.
The Dram Shop Act
The Dram Shop Act serves to establish liability of parties – whether a bar or social host – which sell or give alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals or minors who then cause injury to third parties resulting from alcohol-related accidents. This means that if somebody provides alcohol to someone who is already clearly intoxicated, they can be held liable for this reckless act.
All too often, the people providing the alcohol pay no mind to their actions. They think they are merely selling alcohol or giving it to a friend and that it is solely that person’s responsibility to monitor their behavior. But given the nature of intoxication, this is an unreasonable and irresponsible position.
Once a person has become intoxicated, his or her mental abilities diminish significantly, including the ability to reason. It is unlikely that they will make the best decisions once intoxicated. Therefore, those who provide them with alcohol must be responsible for making this decision.
Rather than viewing an intoxicated person as an opportunity to make a few bucks, a bartender should refrain from selling alcohol and recognize the danger this person poses to themselves and society. Likewise, rather than looking to be an agreeable friend and benevolent host, a social host needs to stop serving alcohol to an intoxicated guest.
What Must We Prove?
The key to recovery against the provider lies in demonstrating that the individual was “obviously intoxicated.” We cannot hold every seller of alcohol responsible for every action of every person who consumed any quantity of alcohol at their establishment before causing an accident. This degree of liability would ensure that there would be no liquor industry, so this would be tantamount to making the sale of liquor illegal.
This is why the standard is “obviously intoxicated.” Witness statements, defendant testimony, and evidence of alcohol type and quantity may be used to make this determination.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to recover under the Dram Shop Act. Call The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We can help you recover and ensure those responsible are held accountable for their actions.