Ask an Attorney: Dram Shop Liability - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Ask an Attorney: Dram Shop Liability

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A drunk driver crashed into me right outside of the bar where he was drinking and injured several people in my van. The drunk driver was uninsured. Is the bar partly responsible as well?
- Fact specific; yes or no.
- Dram shop law and meaning.
- the purpose of a dram shop law is to place an appropriate amount of responsibility, in certain instances, on bars, taverns, and even individual persons who serve alcohol to an intoxicated person, who in turn injure innocent third-parties.

So the dram shop law is not limited to licensed liquor establishments?
- Correct, despite its implication.
- Applies to individuals providing house guests with alcohol.
- So everyone should be aware of the instances where dram shop liability may apply.

In what instances does dram shop liability apply?
- Provide alcohol to minor, incompetent, or obviously intoxicated person.
- If person is under 21, it's an easy question.
- Obviously intoxicated is harder to prove. (Witnesses, bar tab, number of servers)
- Need to show that the bar knowingly served alcohol to the drunk driver when he was obviously intoxicated.

If they can prove that, who can bring a claim against the bar?
- Any spouse, child, parent, guardian, and even employer.
- A spouse may have a loss of consortium claim if his or her husband was hospitalized.
- Personal representative can bring a wrongful death action where a dram shop violation results in the death of an individual.

Can a passenger in the vehicle with a drunk driver bring a dram shop action as well?
- Adult passenger in an automobile driven by the obviously intoxicated person cannot bring a dram shop claim against the bar or other individual. And this obviously encourages people to not get into vehicles with drunk drivers. But this only applies to adult passengers and not to minors.

If there is no dram shop liability, is there anything else these individuals can do to seek compensation?

- Bar could be liable for negligently serving alcohol to the drunk driver.
- No-fault for immediate relief.

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