Liquor Liability & Why It Matters

Commercial Insurance – Dram Shop Law

Fresh cold beer in glass and free space for your bottle. Bar interior background

Liquor serving establishments and their employees are responsible for enforcing responsible alcohol serving rules and those who are cited for public safety violations risk suspension and possible revocation of their liquor license. More than half the states have statutory provisions that allow restaurants, bars, and liquor stores to be held liable for serving alcohol to individuals who cause injuries or death as a result of their intoxication.

A Dram Shop Case is a lawsuit against a bar, tavern, restaurant, or other establishment that sells alcoholic drinks, brought after one of the establishment's patrons became intoxicated and caused injury or harm to others.

Liquor Liability insurance is how alcohol serving establishments protect themselves from successful lawsuits. Breweries with taprooms and on premise winery or distillery tasting involves risk that can be reduced with responsible alcohol policies.

First Party Dram Shop Cases

A “first party” dram shop case is a civil legal case where it is the impaired person who got injured and is suing the bar or restaurant for serving him/her too much alcohol.

Third Party Dram Shop Cases

A “third party” dram shop case exists when the injured person is someone other than the impaired person. So, if you are hit by an impaired driver, and the driver got intoxicated at a bar, you would potentially have a third-party civil case against the bar. (Civil = $)

silver beer dispenser with blurred bartender poured cold draft beer  into glass, selective focus, orange tone

Victims can sue for a variety of reasons that can easily reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars:

  • Lost earnings over a lifetime.
  • Medical and hospital expenses.
  • Property damage.
  • Pain and suffering, anxiety, and emotional distress suffered by a victim, minor, or the deceased.

Liquor Serving Violations: Public Safety, Sale to Apparently Intoxicated Person

Dirty Martini. Cocktail at the bar
  • Dram

    Question: What does dram mean?
    Answer: It’s a very old term for a unit of measure; about 8oz. of alcohol.

  • Private Party Liability

    It is important for everyone to be aware that similar liabilities are associated for the host of a private party who provides alcohol to their guests.

  • DUI Tracking

    In about half the states when a person is arrested for driving impaired they are asked where they have been drinking and if the person names a liquor-licensed establishment that information is forwarded to the Liquor Authority.