Dram Shop Laws in New YorkWhen someone is injured by an intoxicated person, it may not be the intoxicated person alone that is liable for the injuries. In some cases, the business or person who served the intoxicated person alcohol can also be held liable.

What is a Dram Shop Law?

A “dram shop” is, in essence, an establishment that serves alcohol. Dram shop laws impose potential liability on these businesses for the sale of alcohol to people who are visibly intoxicated, or minors, who subsequently cause death or injury to someone else.

New York’s Dram Shop Law

Under New York’s Dram Shop Law, it is illegal for businesses that serve alcohol such as bars and nightclubs to serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated or who is not of drinking age (under 21). If the intoxicated person or minor causes injury to a third party, the business that served the alcohol can be held liable. The Dram Shop Law usually arises in the context of a drunk driving accident.
The key to cases filed against a business under the Dram Shop Law is establishing that the individual was visibly intoxicated. This is usually viewed from the point of view of the employee who is serving the drinks. Proof of an individual’s physical appearance or demeanor and even expert witness testimony can be used to establish visible intoxication. Signs of visible intoxication may include bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and a lack of physical coordination. To establish liability under the Dram Shop Law, it must be shown that:

  1. An injury was caused by an intoxicated person;
  2. There was a knowingly unlawful sale of alcohol by the business to the intoxicated person; and
  3. The alcohol sold by the business caused or contributed to the person’s intoxication at the time of the injury

When it comes to serving minors, the Dram Shop Law is one of strict liability. It doesn’t matter whether the employees of the business knew that the person being served was underage, the business can still be held liable.

Social Host Liability

Under New York’s Social Host Liability, an individual can be held liable for providing alcohol to anyone not of drinking age (under 21) if that person causes a third-party’s injuries. Social host liability is usually seen in situations where parents provide alcohol to their underage children and their children’s friends.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you’ve been injured by the actions of an intoxicated person, you should contact an experienced attorney to evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us onlineor call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.