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Establishing Dram Shop Liability: Key Proof Elements Explained by Quinn Injury Lawyers

Drunk driving accidents involve not only the driver but also those who served them alcohol. Quinn Injury Lawyers emphasizes the critical elements needed to establish dram shop liability in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s “Visible Intoxication” Standard:

  • The state’s dram shop law holds establishments liable only when serving a “visibly intoxicated” patron.
  • Historical Context: The term “dram shop” originated from bars and taverns in England, evolving during temperance movements to address civil liability for alcohol-related injuries.

Proving “Visible Intoxication”:

  • Surveillance Footage: Utilizing video footage from the establishment’s security cameras.
  • Eyewitness Testimony: Gathering accounts from individuals who observed or interacted with the patron.
  • Expert Testimony: Involving professionals to analyze the patron’s blood-alcohol content, especially at the time of their presence at the establishment.

Proof Requirement for Competent Adults:

  • Applies when the driver is a competent adult, i.e., at least 21 years old.
  • The establishment is liable if visible intoxication can be proven.

Dram Shop Liability and Minors:

  • Serving a minor establishes negligence per se, irrespective of visible intoxication.
  • Liability applies when serving someone under 21, without the need to prove visible intoxication.

Challenges in Extending Liability to Social Hosts:

  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Position: The recent decision in Klar v. Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. upheld the opposition to extending liability to social hosts.
  • Commercial Sale or Profit-Seeking: The law requires a commercial context, excluding liability for collective alcohol purchases without commercial elements.
  • Serving Alcohol to a Minor: Despite the decision, serving alcohol to a minor retains the basis for liability.

Consult Quinn Injury Lawyers for Legal Assistance

If you’ve suffered severe injuries in a car accident, multiple parties may share legal responsibility. Quinn Injury Lawyers, a trusted Philadelphia personal injury law firm, offers a free consultation to review your case and guide you on potential courses of action. Contact us today at 215-360-3666 or online to discuss your situation and seek the compensation you deserve.