Legally speaking, a dram shop is any restaurant, bar, tavern, or other company or host who serves liquor to patrons. Dram shop owners have a legal responsibility not to provide alcoholic beverages to minors and not to serve customers who are visibly intoxicated.
In the event that a minor drinks at a dram shop and then gets into an accident or hurts himself or others, the dram shop may be partially liable for injuries and damages. Similarly, if an of-age but clearly intoxicated patron causes damage, the dram shop can be held liable, at least in Indiana.
Several states, like Nevada, have absolutely no dram shop laws on the books. Other states, like Indiana and Illinois, have strict dram shop accountability laws.
Back in 1999, a man at a New York Giants football game drank himself to nearly twice the state’s legal limit. On his way home, he got into a car accident that injured a child - a six-year old girl that was left paralyzed. The court awarded the victim $135 million in compensation, and the liable parties included not only the vendor who served him the alcohol (the Aramark Corporation) but also the National Football League and the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.
In the 1700s in England, the beverage gin was measured out in units called drams.
A detailed investigation into the behavior of the alleged drunk driver is likely necessary. Be aware that the statute of liability on claims is limited; if you wait too long to file a dram shop injury claim, you may not get due compensation for your pain, suffering and medical bills.
To that end, call 1-800-278-9200 to speak with Indianapolis drunk driving accident attorney Randy Sevenish of the Sevenish Law Firm. Attorney Sevenish has 21 years of experience, and he has settled and achieved strong verdicts for dozens of clients. Read more about the firm here on our Indiana personal injury website.