Bar Liability / Dram Shop Claims
Most states have laws against over serving patrons once they are visibly intoxicated. Such kinds of bar liability regulations are known as the dram shop laws and are basically used to provide protection to motorists from drunk drivers. Any Washington, PA injury lawyer can tell you that according to the simple law in Pennsylvania, every nightclub, bar, casino, and restaurant cannot serve more alcohol to a person who appears to already be drunk. If the restaurant or bar is found to have served alcohol to a customer who eventually causes a car accident while going back home, the bar will be held legally responsible for the damages brought upon by the drunk driver they over-served. If you have faced injuries in an accident or collision with an over-served drunk driver, you can contact a Washington, PA accident lawyer who specializes in dram shop liability cases and has the proficiency and experience to file a bar liability suit against that establishment.Signs of Visible Drunkenness
In case of a lawsuit that seeks compensation for injuries or damages created by a pub, casino, or a bar serving alcohol to a person when he or she is already visibly intoxicated, Pennsylvania uses the dram shop laws as the single civil remedy. These don’t depend on the BAC or blood alcohol content to justify the negligence. The people in charge of serving alcohol must have the power of discretion to understand and identify the signs of intoxication such as poor balance, loud conduct, fighting, bloodshot eyes, staggering and slurred speech etc. Most of the time, when confronted, servers don’t admit to having served alcohol to a particular patron who is already exuding signs of intoxication.
Such legal regulations can be complex and challenging. That is precisely why one would need a Washington, PA Injury lawyer who has dealt with dram shop liability cases in the past. Moreover, visible intoxication cannot be proven very easily by simply showcasing that the alcohol was served to a person despite him or her being completely intoxicated at that moment, even if the interpretation of the dram shop laws in Pennsylvania was liberal. According to the repeated statements by the Appellate courts, the plaintiff must prove that the alcohol was over-served to an already drunk person. The only determinant, therefore, remains how the person appeared to be and conducted himself without taking any medical records into consideration. But a toxicology expert can further give an opinion regarding whether the customer seemed drunk depending on the blood alcohol content when the last alcoholic drink was provided to him or her.
Sometimes, people might not be identified as intoxicated in spite of having a very high blood alcohol content. Therefore, one should consider the BAC level along with other factors which also contribute to the belief that the person was indeed intoxicated at that time. Here, the testimony of an eyewitness is more crucial than the BAC, which will only be considered as circumstantial evidence. According to the dram shop laws, there is a major stress in the visible evidence by a rational person than someone who was drunk.
Dram shop laws exist to provide protection to patrons and those operating motor vehicles. By contact Stopperich Turturice & Logue, we can provide you with renowned and experienced Washington, PA accident lawyers who can assist you in all your court proceedings and claims against the bar or restaurant who served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. Contact us online or call us at (724) 350-8995 to setup a free consultation.