After a drunk driving accident, the intoxicated person can be held liable for damages caused by the crash. Those damages can include costly medical bills, long-term care costs, and lost income if the victim is unable to work for a lengthy period. However, the driver and his or her insurance company may not be the only source of compensation available to an accident victim.
Missouri has a statute known as the Dram Shop Law. Dram shop laws allow accident victims injured by intoxicated drivers, under certain circumstances, to hold commercial establishments accountable for serving alcoholic beverages to patrons who later cause drunk driving accidents. Specifically, the law imposes liability on bars and restaurants for serving underage patrons or individuals who appear visibly intoxicated.
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, you need an attorney who will investigate your case thoroughly and determine all possible sources of compensation. The drunk driving accident lawyers of Sumner Law Group, LLC, have the skills and the resources to determine whether your crash was caused by an intoxicated person who was unlawfully served or overserved in a bar, restaurant, or other commercial establishments under the Missouri Dram Shop Law.
Contact us today for a free case review with a knowledgeable Missouri drunk driving accident attorney. We will explain how our firm can help you pursue full financial compensation for your injuries and losses.
What Is Missouri’s Dram Shop Liability Law?
Missouri’s Dram Shop Law sets out the circumstances under which a commercial establishment can be held liable for selling alcoholic drinks to a person who later causes a drunk driving accident resulting in injuries. The Dram Shop Law otherwise limits the liability of commercial establishments selling alcoholic beverages.
When Is a Commercial Establishment Liable Under the Dram Shop Law?
A commercial establishment can be held liable under the Dram Shop Law if:
- The establishment serves an underage person (under 21) alcohol, and that person is injured or killed as a result of consumption of alcohol at the commercial establishment.
- The establishment serves or overserves a visibly intoxicated person alcohol, and that person later causes injury to someone else. The caveat here is that the injury to another person must have been caused as a result of the visibly intoxicated person’s inebriation.
When Is a Person Considered Visibly Intoxicated?
Missouri’s Dram Shop Law defines a person as “visibly intoxicated” when he or she is “inebriated to such an extent that the impairment is shown by significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction.” The law expressly provides that a person’s blood alcohol content may not be used as certain evidence of visible intoxication. However, it can serve as relevant evidence in establishing a person’s visible intoxication.
The Dram Shop Law prohibits commercial establishments from terminating employees for refusing service to a customer the employee deems visibly intoxicated.
How Do You Prove the Establishment Knew the Person Was Underage?
Proving that a commercial establishment knew or should have known that a customer was under the age of 21 would likely require showing that the establishment either:
- Did not ID the customer
- Accepted an identification showing the customer was under 21
However, the Dram Shop Law creates a legal defense for commercial establishments when they are shown a driver’s license or other state or federal personal identification that appears genuine and shows the holder to be at least 21 years old.
What Is Considered a Commercial Establishment Under Missouri’s Dram Shop Law?
A commercial establishment under the Dram Shop Law in Missouri includes any establishment where alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption on the premises. Common examples of commercial establishments under the Dram Shop Law include bars, restaurants, social clubs, and theaters that sell alcoholic beverages.
Commercial establishments under the Dram Shop Law would not include liquor stores, since alcohol sold at a liquor store is not intended to be consumed on the premises.
Private citizens cannot be held liable under the Dram Shop Law for serving alcoholic beverages at a private party or gathering. However, a social host can be held criminally liable for serving a visibly intoxicated guest who later injures another person.
Hurt in a Drunk Driving Accident? Talk to a Lawyer Now
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident in Missouri, you may be entitled to hold a bar, restaurant, or other commercial establishments liable for serving the person who caused your accident. Contact Sumner Law Group, LLC, now to speak with a knowledgeable drunk driving accident lawyer.