New Jersey Dram Shop Liability Lawyers

Experienced Dram Shop Liability Attorneys Representing Clients Injured in Dram Shop Liability Accidents Across Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Throughout NJ

For every 100,000 people, approximately 3 will lose their lives in drunk driving accidents that take place on our roadways every year. With drunk driving becoming a growing issue, it is no surprise that lawmakers and organizations are taking charge to prevent these horrific accidents by instating laws that will lower the number of fatalities that occur due to these accidents. When you think about drunk driving accidents, the first person that comes to mind is the driver who made the decision to drive while intoxicated. This is most obviously the party who is liable for your accident. But, did you know that another party might be liable for your injuries as well?

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What Are Liquor Laws in New Jersey?

Liquor liability laws are frequently referred to as “dram shop laws” under New Jersey law and can dictate liability of a party that you might not have even considered when your accident took place. Our first thought is to blame only the drunk driver in a DUI accident, as they are the ones who made the decision to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated. Often times, we do not know that the bar who served the drunk patron could also be liable if they were to get into a serious accident that leads to harm.

Dram shop laws have been put in place in New Jersey to hold a bar, tavern, or restaurant liable for a drunk driving accident when they have over-served a patron too much alcohol or served alcohol to somebody who was underage at the time. If you have been involved in an car accident and you are able to prove that a bar or restaurant acted in these negligent ways and did not take proper care to identify a minor buying alcohol or a patron who was already intoxicated, you might have a claim against the negligent party who served them.

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This means that, instead of just bringing a claim against the drunk driver, you would be bringing a claim against the bar or drinking establishment as well. This is due to the fact that establishments that serve alcoholic drinks are not only supposed to be trained to identify when somebody is already well under the influence and cut them off, but they must also I.D. minors to ensure that somebody underage is not buying beverages at their establishment. If harm is caused by the actions of a drunk driver who was extremely intoxicated or underage, the bar might be held liable in one of these claims.

What is Proximate Cause in a Dram Shop Liability Case?

How can a business be held liable for the injuries that you have received if they were not physically there to commit the crime? A business can only be held liable if the intoxicated person was a proximate cause of the injuries sustained by the plaintiff. This means that the business must have played a direct role in causing your injuries. Here are some cases that have been handled in the past where a bar or restaurant was found liable for the injuries of a plaintiff in a drunk driving case:

  • A patron is severely intoxicated and leaves the tavern in his or her vehicle. The bartender failed to cut off this individual and they drank so much that they don’t remember getting behind the wheel of the car, leading to an accident.
  • An intoxicated person is not cut off and leaves the bar and commits a crime, such as vehicular assault, against their better judgment.
  • A group of minors are not asked for their I.D.s and are served alcohol throughout the night. They get involved in an accident.

It can be extremely difficult to prove that a bar or tavern has acted in a negligent way because, after you have been injured in a DUI accident, the judge in your case will almost always be looking at the actions of the drunk driver. In some states, it is difficult to bring one of these claims unless you are able to somehow prove that the bartender intentionally sold alcohol to someone who was intoxicated or was a minor at the time. This is why it is imperative to have a New Jersey dram shop liability accident attorney on your side at Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari, where we have experience in these laws and cases.

DUI accidents can be incredibly complicated at times, which is why you should never go without help when it comes to your case. Our accident attorneys are waiting to hear from you if you have sustained catastrophic injuries at the hands of a negligent party. Please contact us as soon as possible for results by filling out our convenient online contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dram Shop Liability

FAQ: If I was injured at the hands of a drunk driver who was served too much at a bar, is this first party or third party?

First party dram shop cases are brought when somebody drinks too much and then becomes involved in their own accident. Third party cases, on the other hand, involve an outside party who was intoxicated when they caused your accident. If you have been injured at the hands of a party who was a minor or who was served too much alcohol, you will have a third party claim when it comes to your dram shop case.

FAQ: What defenses might a bartender or owner try to claim to avoid liability?

They might try to show that individuals have different tolerance levels. Perhaps they will claim that somebody might have been drinking on an empty stomach or that the patron comes there often and typically walks home instead of driving. Though they might attempt to divert liability, working with an attorney can ensure that your rights are protected and that your claim will move forward successfully.