Dram shop laws enable drunk driving accident victims and their families to hold businesses that serve alcohol legally responsible for DUI wrecks. A recent dram shop case is a reminder that it is possible to sue bars for overserving alcohol to someone who goes on to cause a drinking and driving-related accident in New Jersey. The lawsuit involves a March 2015 incident where an ex-police officer from Linden, New Jersey was allegedly driving drunk when he was involved in a deadly wrong-way crash on a highway in Staten Island.
Per NJ.com, two men riding in the ex-Linden cop’s car were killed in the wreck, while a third passenger from the vehicle suffered critical injuries. The man who suffered critical injuries, along with the family of one of the men killed in the head-on collision, later filed a dram shop lawsuit against a bar and a strip club that the men visited that night. The suit accuses the strip club and bar of overserving the ex-cop alcohol prior to the drunk driving accident.
How Does Dram Shop Law Work in New Jersey?
First, drunk drivers are not eligible to pursue dram shop claims under New Jersey law. For victims of DUI crashes and their families, there are a couple of factors that can lead to them being able to hold a business liable for overserving alcohol to a person who goes on to cause a drunk driving accident, including:
- If a person was already visibly intoxicated when he or she was served alcohol
- If a person served alcohol was under 21 and the person who served him or her alcohol knew or should have reasonably known
Dram shop lawsuits do not only apply to drunk driving wrecks. For instance, if a person is served too much alcohol at a casino bar and goes on to cause a personal injury accident, such as stumbling into someone on a staircase and knocking them down, the injury victim may be able to pursue a dram shop claim.
Our New Jersey personal injury lawyers have decades of experience successfully defending the rights of injury victims in Atlantic City and Cape May, resulting in several multimillion dollar recoveries for our clients.