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Dram shop liability if a drunk driver hits you in New Jersey

On Behalf of | May 29, 2020 | DUI/Dram Shop Laws

Getting hit by a car can be a costly business. You may have a few questions if it happens to you or someone in your family: Why did the driver decide to drive when drunk, and why did someone not stop them?

Everyone knows how dangerous drinking and driving is, and under New Jersey law, if you serve or sell alcohol to someone who goes on to cause an accident, you may be held partially responsible. Think of it as a community responsibility. If you are working at a bar, keep an eye on your customers and tell them when enough is enough. If someone asks you for one more for the road, you have a responsibility to say no if they have already had too much.

If you have ever worked in a bar, it may seem unfair that you can be held responsible for your clients’ actions, but think of it this way: How would you feel if you, or someone in your family, was hit by a drunk driver?

The law will look at each situation individually, just because someone was in a bar does not mean that the bar can be held liable for an accident. Three things need to be proven:

  1. The bar was negligent in serving alcohol to the person; for example, the person was already drunk or was underage.
  2. The accident was caused in part because they served alcohol to the person.
  3. They could have foreseen that this may happen.

If you do need to claim for a New Jersey vehicle accident, where the other driver was driving while intoxicated, you will probably try and claim against the driver first. However, it is good to know that a bar cannot recklessly serve alcohol to someone who is drunk and let them drive away. If they make money selling alcohol, they need to accept the responsibility that comes with this.