Dram shop laws are laws that hold businesses such as bars, restaurants and liquor stores liable if they sell alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person or a minor, and that person goes on to suffer an injury or death. If a person in New Jersey suffers an injury due to the negligent service of an alcoholic beverage by a licensed server, they may hold the server responsible if certain elements are met.
Dram shop laws in New Jersey
First, the server must be deemed negligent. This means that they served a visibly intoxicated person or a minor when they knew or reasonably should have known the person being served was underage. Second, the injury suffered must have been proximately caused by the negligent service of alcohol. Finally, the injury suffered must have been a foreseeable consequence of the negligent service of alcohol.
Dram shop cases can be first-party cases or third-party cases. For example, if a person is injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, they may pursue a legal claim against both the drunk driver and the facility that sold or served the alcohol in a third-party claim. If the intoxicated person themselves suffered damages due to their drunkenness, they may be able to pursue a first-party claim against the establishment that sold them the alcohol.
What about social hosts?
However, what if you are throwing a party at your private residence. As a social host, are you subject to dram shop laws? Depending on the circumstances, you may be held accountable through social host liability laws for any damages an intoxicated guest or minor suffers after being served alcohol at your home.
Seek assistance following a drunk driving accident
Ultimately, this post is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice nor can it guarantee any specific outcome in a drunk driving accident case. Those who have questions about dram shop laws following a drunk driving accident in New Jersey may want to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney, so they can make informed decisions moving forward.