Can bars be held liable for over-serving? | The Dickerson & Smith Law Group
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Can bars be held liable for over-serving?

A patron at a bar is clearly intoxicated. They can barely order their next drink coherently. The bartender still gives the patron two more beers before the bar closes down for the night.

That person then goes outside, gets in their car and attempts to drive home. Not a mile from the bar, they blow through a stop sign and slam into another car, seriously injuring the people inside.

Clearly, the drunk driver is at fault in the accident, both for driving while intoxicated and for causing the accident by running the stop sign. But is the bar also responsible for selling alcohol to someone who was dangerously drunk?

That may be the case in some states, which use dram shop laws to hold bars and other establishments responsible for over-serving patrons. These are rather old laws which are used in most of the United States -- 43 states, to be specific.

However, Virginia does not have dram shop laws. Those who are injured cannot use them to seek compensation from both the establishment and the drunk driver. Other states that do not have dram shop laws include Delaware, Louisiana, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Maryland and Nevada.

That does not mean that the injured parties have no options. They may be able to get compensation from the driver who caused the accident, and they need to know what legal steps to take after a DUI crash. However, that compensation is a bit more limited in scope because it can only come from one source, rather than getting divided between the two.

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