Dram Shop (Liquor Liability)

Drinking alcohol or consuming other mind-altering substances can have a profound impact on driving skills.  Often these types of automobile collisions result in serious injury or death.  Of course, drunk drivers can be held liable for the consequences of their actions, but many people do not realize that others can also be held accountable for the carnage caused by DUI collisions.  These statutes, called  “Dram shop” laws, exist in many states, including Mississippi.  Generally , “dram shop” laws allow victims of drunk driving accidents (or their families or heirs) to hold bars, restaurants, casinos and other alcohol sellers liable for the death, injury, or any other damages caused by an intoxicated customer.

These often complex laws vary by state, and require a knowledgeable attorney to pursue the claim. Our firm has experience in hiring toxicologists and other experts int law enforcement and restaurant management to develop the necessary proof to pursue these challenging cases.

Under Mississippi law, dram shop defendants can be held liable for selling or serving alcohol to “visibly intoxicated” persons (also known as “over-serving”).  The same defendants are also strictly liable for the consequences of serving alcohol to minors.  On the other hand, several states, including Louisiana, do not generally recognize dram shop liability and actually have laws protecting alcohol sellers from exposure.  This is unfortunate because studies show that many states with dram shop laws have observed significant decreases in DUI related car crashes.

There may also be liquor liability for “social hosts”, someone who allows or otherwise furnishes alcohol to persons under the legal drinking age.  In such instances, social hosts may be held liable for injuries (or death) caused by their negligence in serving alcohol and/or failing to prevent an impaired guest from driving.  Like dram shop laws, liquor liability for “social hosts” vary by state.

If you are a loved one has suffered serious personal injury or death because of a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation from parties other than the drunk driver.