What are New York’s DRAM Shop Laws?

Drunk drivers who cause an accident can be held liable for any injuries or deaths they cause. While this is true, there are some cases in which they may not be the only party that is responsible. Establishments or hosts who served alcohol to a person before they cause an accident may be held liable as well. This is done under the state’s DRAM shop and social host laws. If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, contact a New York personal injury attorney for help recovering compensation.

DRAM Shop Laws

The purpose of DRAM shop laws is to protect victims of drunk driving accidents. The law makes it illegal for establishments with an alcohol license to serve a patron that is visibly intoxicated. This is in place for all bars, taverns, pubs, restaurants, and more. Servers must be aware of any signs of intoxication so that they can stop serving. Signs can be slurred speech, glassy or bloodshot eyes, difficulty finishing sentences, incoherent speech, stumbling, falling, impaired fine-motor skills, and more. If the establishment keep serving alcohol to the individual and they go on to cause an accident, they can be liable. DRAM shop laws come into play under the following conditions:

  • An employee of the establishment serves alcohol to a person who was visibly intoxicated
  • The decision to serve the intoxicated customer directly caused injuries and damages

Social Host Laws

People who host parties of their own have this same lawful obligation. Social host laws exist to hold a host responsible in the event that an underage guest drinks alcohol at their party and causes an accident. It is important to know that this is true even if the host did not know a minor was drinking at their party. Social host laws can be applied in the following situations:

  • If a minor consumes alcohol at your party and is injured or killed in an accident
  • If a minor consumes alcohol at your party and injures or kills someone else

How Long Do I Have to Sue?

When an injured person wants to pursue legal action, they need to remember the statute of limitations. This is a deadline by which they are required to file a claim or they can lose their opportunity to do so. In New York, the statute of limitations for DRAM shop lawsuits is three years from the date of the injury or wrongful death. 

Contact our Firm

The Law Offices of George Poulos is an experienced Workers’ Compensation, personal injury, bankruptcy, and Social Security Disability law firm with offices in Queens and the Bronx. We understand the implications of a serious accident, which is why we take pride in tenaciously representing our clients. If you require strong legal representation, contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation.