DUI accidents are an unfortunate reality. Whether it’s a teenager who gets drunk at a friend’s house or an adult who is over-served at a bar in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, issues of liability must be analyzed thoroughly, especially in serious injury cases. Below are two examples which highlight liability of parties other than the drivers involved in a DUI/alcohol accident.
Example 1: a teenager goes to a house party, drives home and is seriously injured in a single car crash. Liability in this case depends on two factors: who supplied the alcohol and who owned the house where the party occurred.
Liability of an Adult Who Supplies Alcohol
An adult who knowingly supplies alcohol to underage kids may be held liable. For instance, an older brother or family friend who supplied the alcohol may be held liable.
The Homeowner’s Liability
In addition, the homeowner may also be held liable. However, there must be evidence of that individual’s negligence. For instance, a parent who leaves an underage child on an overnight trip does not necessarily commit negligence when the child holds a party. On the other hand, a parent who provides alcohol for an underage child’s house party will be liable. Also, an underage child may be liable if he or she knowingly supplied alcohol or otherwise knew that drugs or alcohol were being served at the party.
Example 2: an adult goes to a bar with friends and drinks too much alcohol. He gets behind the wheel and kills another driver on the road. There is evidence that the bartender served him 5 shots of alcohol and 6 beers over the course of 3 hours. There is also ample evidence that the bar goer was visibly intoxicated when the bartender poured his drinks.
The Bar/Restaurant’s Liability
In the second example, the injured driver would of course have a claim against the DUI driver. However, that driver may also have a claim against the bar which served alcohol to the DUI driver. This is commonly known as a “dram shop” case. Under Pennsylvania and New Jersey dram shop law, bars and restaurants can be held liable for negligence when serving alcohol (i.e., serving a guest who is already visibly intoxicated).
- Civil Liability in Alcohol Related Accidents in Pennsylvania – Alcohol Service Establishments
- NJ Bar and Restaurant Liability for Alcohol Related Accidents and Fights
- Pennsylvania Bar & Restaurant Liability for Drunk Driving Accidents-The Importance of Prompt Investigation
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