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Pennsylvania Lawyers Experienced In Dram Shop Liability

Were you or a loved one injured in a drunk driving accident? You may be eligible to file suit against the bar or restaurant that served the driver alcohol. You have powerful legal options in the civil justice system.

  • Pursue justice after your accident
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Dram Shop Law Litigators

Have questions? Our dedicated car accident lawsuit team can answer them. Contact our team today for a free, confidential consultation.

Drunk drivers remain a persistent threat on Pennsylvania’s roads and highways. When intoxicated drivers get behind the wheel, they risk far more than their own lives. After a serious crash, survivors can be left facing mounting medical expenses and weeks, months or even years of recovery.

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Were you or a loved one injured in a traffic collision with a drunk driver? You have powerful legal options. Pennsylvania state law empowers car accident survivors who were struck by a drunk driver to pursue financial damages by filing a civil lawsuit. In some cases, monetary damages may be available from the bar, restaurant, or licensed establishment that served the drunk driver alcohol. This is known as a “dram shop” lawsuit.

Pursuing Compensation After A Drunk Driving Accident

Drunk driving is a serious crime, and those who drive under the influence face significant criminal penalties. In many cases, drunk drivers can also be held liable for their damaging actions in a civil lawsuit for financial damages. But the role of alcohol adds another factor to this equation. In addition to drunk drivers, some accident survivors may also be able to file suit against the bar or restaurant that served the alcohol to the driver.

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What Is A Dram Shop Lawsuit?

Today, the majority of states in the United States have enacted a “dram shop” law, which allows negligent bars, restaurants, and other licensed establishments to be held accountable for selling alcohol in violation of state liquor laws. In most places, it’s illegal to sell alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron, just as it’s illegal to serve a minor.

When a licensed establishment violates one of these laws, and the patron goes on to cause severe injuries in a drunk driving accident or bar fight, the establishment can be held liable for financial damages.

This concept is often referred to as “dram shop liability,” a reference to the spoonfuls of liquor, known as “drams,” frequently sold by taverns in pre-Revolution America. Dram shop liability recognizes that, for every drunk driver who hits the road, there is almost certainly a bar or restaurant that decided to serve the man or woman alcohol. Thus exists a chain of responsibility, stretching back from the drunk driver to the licensed establishment.

Where Can Dram Shop Claims Be Filed?

While not all states in the northeast possess dram shop laws, Pennsylvania is definitely one of them. Under the legislation of The Commonwealth, injury survivors and their loved ones may pursue financial compensation from a negligent licensed establishment in the wake of a drunk driving accident, bar fight, or some other alcohol-related incident.

Dram Shop Liability Covers Bar Fights & Other Incidents

That’s an important point we should reiterate. Dram shop liability isn’t just for drunk driving car accidents. In principle, licensed establishments can be held accountable for any injuries caused due to a patron’s inebriation, so long as the patron was served in an illegal manner. In some cases, even drunk drivers themselves can sue licensed establishments for serving them alcohol in an irresponsible way. Needless to say, these cases are very difficult to win, because most people, including jury members, feel that people should be held responsible for their actions. Even so, it may be a possibility in a select number of states, including Pennsylvania.

Liquor Code Violations

Dram shop laws generally outline two applicable violations:

  1. serving alcohol to a minor (someone under the age of 21)
  2. serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron

Establishments that serve alcohol to a minor without making reasonable efforts to check the patron’s age can be held accountable for doing so if the minor goes on to cause a drunk driving accident, start a bar fight or cause injuries in some other way. The same goes for licensed establishments that serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated patrons.

The Visible Intoxication Requirement

In Pennsylvania, many bartenders are trained to notice the visible signs of intoxication so they can cut patrons off when they’ve had too much:

  • slurred speech
  • bloodshot eyes
  • stumbling
  • loud, boisterous speech

These are signs of intoxication that any reasonable person would be able to recognize. When bartenders fail to recognize these signs and continue to serve an intoxicated patron, the establishment may become liable for whatever happens as a result of the patron’s intoxication. Blood tests and blood alcohol content don’t really play a role in this sphere (although they can be helpful after the fact), because what matters is how the patron appeared at the time of service, and no bartender is going to administer a breath or blood test.

In some cases, medical experts can testify that a person with a blood alcohol content of a certain level would have looked a certain way at the time of service, but this is usually considered circumstantial evidence that can’t clinch a case. More important is eye witness testimony, along with surveillance video footage from the scene of service.

Criminal Justice System Lacks Support For Survivors

Everyone knows that drinking alcohol makes it nearly impossible to drive in a safe manner. Even minor intoxication clouds a driver’s visual field and reduces their capacity to react appropriately to the changing conditions of a road environment. Under these circumstances, accidents are a foregone conclusion. Even so, drunk drivers continue to harm innocent drivers, passengers, and pedestrians every day, causing untold suffering.

Drunk driving is illegal in Pennsylvania and virtually every other state in the country. More specifically, it’s a crime to drive with a blood-alcohol level above 0.08. But the criminal justice system goes relatively easy on drunk drivers. In Pennsylvania, for example, the penalty for a first-time drunk driving infraction is only a $300 fine. Even penalties for second-time drunk drivers are on the lenient side.

The situation isn’t much better for drunk driving accident victims. While the criminal justice system is excellent at punishing offenders for their misconduct, support for survivors is few and far between, especially when it comes to financial compensation.

Civil Justice System Provides A Solution

Car accidents that involve alcohol lead to a disproportionate amount of serious injuries and victim deaths. That’s as true in Pennsylvania as it is nationwide. Unfortunately, the state criminal justice system does not offer an avenue for survivors and loved ones impacted by these accidents to secure ongoing, strong support in their time of need.

For many accident survivors and families, the only available option is to turn to the civil justice system. With the help of the experienced personal injury attorneys at Justice Guardians, you can fight for your rights by filing a civil lawsuit. In some cases, you may be eligible to pursue a dram shop case, seeking financial compensation from the licensed establishment where the drunk driver was served the alcohol.

Contact An Experienced Attorney

Were you or a loved one injured or killed in a drunk driving accident? Are you weighed down by medical expenses? Hurt and unable to work? Our dedicated legal team is here to help. Through a civil lawsuit, you can protect your family’s best interests. Our strong legal advocacy and compassionate service can get the job done.

Contact our experienced attorneys today for a free legal consultation. Your consultation comes at no charge and no obligation. There’s no risk of reaching out for help. Worried about the cost of filing a lawsuit? Don’t be. Our lawyers offer their services on a contingency-fee basis, so you only pay us after we secure compensation in your case.

More Information For additional details regarding the legal cases handled by our law firm, visit the following page - https://justiceguardians.com/bus-accidents/

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Our Local Dram Shop Liability Offices in Pennsylvania

Justice Guardians
1067 Mansion Lane
Garnet Valley, PA 19060
VG7G+PF Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania
Phone: (610) 549-4218
Justice Guardians
630 Fairview Rd #104
Swarthmore, PA 19081
VJRW+GX Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Phone: (484) 229-7624
Justice Guardians
495 Thomas Jones Way #304-C
Exton, PA 19341
28FW+6M Exton, Pennsylvania
Phone: (484) 214-4985
Justice Guardians
1142 Hamilton St #102
Allentown, PA 18102
HGX9+QF Allentown, Pennsylvania
Phone: (610) 596-9369
Justice Guardians
3301 Ryan Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19136
2XR4+4R Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Phone: (267) 332-1769
Justice Guardians
3400 Aramingo Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19134
XVRX+XF Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Phone: (267) 277-2890
Justice Guardians
352 Church Ln
Philadelphia, PA 19144
2RQM+45 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Phone: (445) 200-5285
Justice Guardians
5327 Walnut St #201
Philadelphia, PA 19139
XQ5C+2H Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Phone: (267) 313-5200
Justice Guardians
8232 West Chester Pike #101
Upper Darby, PA 19082
XP89+6Q Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Phone: (610) 596-1069
Justice Guardians
6720 Old York Rd #102
Philadelphia, PA 19126
3V45+8Q Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Phone: (267) 930-6969
Justice Guardians
107 E Main St #309
Norristown, PA 19401
4M75+F6 Norristown, Pennsylvania
Phone: (610) 596-8007
Justice Guardians
7708 City Ave #208-A
Philadelphia, PA 19151
XPGG+VM Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Phone: (484) 414-7404
Justice Guardians
2 Industrial Blvd #210-B
Paoli, PA 19301
2GV2+8Q Paoli, Pennsylvania
Phone: (484) 214-5070
Justice Guardians
100 Presidential Blvd #104
Bala Cynwd, PA 19004
2Q6P+HP Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania
Phone: (610) 424-2007
Justice Guardians
105 Westtown Rd #A
West Chester, PA 19382
XC75+PR West Chester, Pennsylvania
Phone: (484) 261-8700
Justice Guardians
661 Bristol Pike #101
Bensalem, PA 19020
328F+26 Bensalem, Pennsylvania
Phone: (267) 293-5585
Justice Guardians
817 Linden St #103
Bethlehem, PA 18018
JJGH+6P Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Phone: (610) 403-9675
Justice Guardians
3501 Masons Mill Rd #501-B
Hatboro, PA 19040
5W5F+92 Hatboro, Pennsylvania
Phone: (267) 376-3820
Justice Guardians
815 Greenwood Ave #22-A
Jenkintown, PA 19046
3VWG+24 Jenkintown, Pennsylvania
Phone: (814) 305-9007
Justice Guardians
15260 Kutztown Rd
Kutztown, PA 19530
G6HP+94 Kutztown, Pennsylvania
Phone: (610) 465-1080
Justice Guardians
940 Town Center Dr Suite F- 50B
Langhorne, PA 19047
54QC+CX Langhorne, Pennsylvania
Phone: (267) 329-0702
Justice Guardians
3545 Rhoads Ave #103
Newtown Square, PA 19073
XJQ2+5X Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
Phone: (267) 360-6269
Justice Guardians
925 E High St #101
Pottstown, PA 19464
69V9+MR Pottstown, Pennsylvania
Phone: (267) 308-4988
Justice Guardians
400 Washington St #307
Reading, PA 19601
83PC+J8 Reading, Pennsylvania
Phone: (610) 589-0900
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This website is sponsored by Justice Guardians, LLC. We have offices in Pennsylvania with attorneys licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Use of this site does not form an attorney-client relationship and information herein shall not be construed as legal advice. This website is to be considered as ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Past settlement and verdict values are no guarantee of similar future outcomes. This firm may retain local counsel for prosecuting cases and while this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases are referred to other attorneys for principal responsibility.
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