Can someone under 21 who is served alcohol at a bar make a claim against the bar after an accident?


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In PA and NJ, a minor who is served alcohol and later injured in an alcohol related accident may be able to sue the bar or restaurant that served them alcohol. The basis of the claim would be violation of the state’s liquor/alcohol serving law (aka, dram shop law).

A bar or restaurant’s liability is not defeated by the fact that the drunk underaged individual caused an accident, like a DUI/DWI accident. The injured underaged individual retains the right to bring a claim for being served alcohol.

However, the claim would be subject to the rule on comparative negligence. In other words, the injured individual would likely be found partially at fault for causing the accident. Accordingly, the damages would be decreased by the percentage of negligence assigned to the individual.

For example, a 19 year old gets drunk at a bar and then gets into a DUI accident. Evidence at trial shows that the bar served 5 shots of liquor and 3 beers over a 3 hour period. The 19 year old was visibly intoxicated and seen swaying as he left the bar. The jury would probably assign some percentage of negligence to the 19 year old/plaintiff. In this scenario, assigning 30% negligence to the plaintiff would be reasonable. The bar would therefore be 70% at fault for the accident. Whatever damages were awarded would be decreased by 30%, the negligence attributed to the plaintiff.

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Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar/Restaurant Liability Law Firm

Our lawyers have represented many clients against bars and restaurants for negligence stemming from serving too much alcohol or serving a minor. For more information, contact our Pennsylvania and New Jersey bar/restaurant alcohol liability lawyers for a free consultation.

Our attorneys serve accident victims in the following areas: Allegheny County, PA; Berks County, PA; Bucks County, PA; Chester County, PA; Delaware County, PA; Lehigh County, PA; Montgomery County, PA; Northampton County, PA: Philadelphia County, PA; Atlantic County, NJ; Burlington County, NJ; Camden County, NJ; Cumberland County, NJ; Gloucester County, NJ; Salem County, NJ; New Castle County, DE; Kent County, DE; Atlantic City, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Newark, NJ; Doylestown, PA; Media, PA; West Chester, PA; Norristown, PA; Camden, NJ; Wilmington, DE; Newark, DE; Georgetown, DE; and New Castle, DE. Our lawyers can obtain special admission in other states, such as New York, on a case by case basis.

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