Can a drunk driver bring a negligence claim against a bar for serving too much alcohol?


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A: Under Pennsylvania law, bars and restaurants which serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated can be held liable to the person who was served too much alcohol. In a 2011 Pennsylvania Superior Court case, Schuenemann v. Dreamz, LLC, the plaintiff was the estate of a bar patron who killed herself in a single car drunk driving accident. Her estate succeeded at trial in Philadelphia in a dram shop lawsuit against the bar. However, the verdict was reduced by the driver/bar patron’s fair share of negligence, which was determined to be 49%. The bar appealed to the Superior Court and lost there.

DUI Accidents and Bar & Restaurant Liability

This case demonstrates the status of dram shop law in Pennsylvania, especially as it pertains to claims made by drunk drivers against bars and restaurants which violate state alcohol service laws. Serving alcohol to someone who is already visibly intoxicated can subject a bar/restaurant to liability, regardless of whether the person is the drunk driver or not.

More articles by our PA & NJ bar and restaurant alcohol liability lawyers:

Pennsylvania Bar/Restaurant Alcohol Liability Law Firm

To submit your case for review by our Pennsylvania bar and restaurant alcohol liability and accident lawyers, call Click To Call. Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation, and can obtain special admission in other states, such as New York or Delaware, on a case by case basis.

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