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Injured by An Intoxicated Person? You May Be Able to Sue the Party Who Served Them!

Sept. 6, 2021

If you were injured in an accident with a drunk driver, you may be able to sue the establishment that served the intoxicated person, as well as the drunk driver.

How can I sue the bar, a restaurant, or a private event for serving the drunk driver?

According to Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Law, any establishment or licensed individual who gives alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person can be held legally responsible for any injuries and damages the intoxicated person might cause.

What if I was Assaulted by an Intoxicated Person?

Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Law also applies to the situation where a visibly intoxicated customer is served alcohol and then starts a fight with others. In this situation, the injured person can sue the bar, restaurant, or the private event host under Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Law.

What must an individual prove in order to hold the bar, restaurant, or the private event host liable?

The individual must prove the following:

  1. That an employee or agent of the licensee (the bar, restaurant, or the private event host) served alcoholic beverages to a customer while visibly intoxicated; and

  2. That this violation of the statute proximately caused the individual’s injuries.

Fandozzi v. Kelly Hotel, 711 A.2d 524 (Pa. Super. 1998).

How Can You Prove Visible Intoxication?

To establish that a customer was served alcoholic beverages while visibly intoxicated, the injured party must prove that the customer exhibited signs of visible intoxication before being served their last drink and that someone saw the customer exhibit such signs. McDonald v. Marriott, 388 Pa. Super. 121, 564 A.2d 1296, 1299 (1989).

This can be established by way of witnesses or video surveillance from the bar, restaurant, or the private event.

What About Service of Alcohol to A Minor?

In Matthews v. Konieczny, 515 Pa. 106, 527 A.2d 508 (1987), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that the service of alcohol beverages to minors in violation of the liquor code formed the basis for a finding of negligence. In turn, those who are affected by the service of the alcoholic beverages to minors – i.e., other drivers injured by the intoxicated minor or those injured due to a fight engaged in by the intoxicated minor – will be able to hold the bar, restaurant, or the private event liable. Additionally, when a minor customer is involved, the Court held that it was not necessary to show the minor customer was visibly intoxicated at the time of purchase of the alcohol.

What can I do if I was injured by an intoxicated driver or by an intoxicated patron of a bar, restaurant, or private event?

If you or a loved one were seriously injured by an intoxicated person’s actions in Pennsylvania, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side to make certain you or your loved one is properly compensated for their injuries. At The Town Law, we understand the magnitude of having an attorney who is willing to provide the necessary attention to your case so that you can obtain justice. With our vast experience handling personal injury cases throughout Bucks County, Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania, we are well-equipped to ensure you get the best result possible. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. Our staff of experienced Personal Injury attorneys is dedicated to the best outcomes for all of our clients.