Dram Shop

Business Owners and Social Hosts Do Not Necessarily Share Responsibility for Their Guests’ DUI Accidents

Understanding dram shop and social host liability in Kentucky

“Dram shop laws” are intended to hold business establishments liable, in some circumstances, for injuries or damage caused by persons to whom they have served alcohol. A “dram shop,” in old parlance, is a tavern or similar place where liquor is sold and consumed. In some states, a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron who then injures someone in an auto accident may be liable under a dram shop law. “Social host” laws extend the dram shop idea to social settings in which alcohol is served at home. Most dram shop laws apply an “obvious intoxication” test: whether a seller or server knew, or should have known, that a patron was so intoxicated that more alcohol would cause danger to him/herself or others.

What is Kentucky’s dram shop law?

Kentucky’s dram shop statute declares that the consumption of intoxicating beverages is what causes injuries (including death and property damage) inflicted by intoxicated persons, not the beverages’ sale or service per se.  Alcohol vendors and servers are not liable if an intoxicated person injures another person, unless “a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances should know that the person served is already intoxicated at the time of serving.” Kentucky has no state law permitting a person injured by a drunken individual to seek damages from his or her social host. With respect to dram shops, however, criminal penalties may be imposed, including suspension or revocation of retail liquor licenses, for the sale of alcohol to actually or apparently intoxicated persons, or to those known by the seller to be “habitual drunkards.”

What are social host liability laws in Kentucky?

More than half the states in America have enacted social host liability laws. Some state laws hold hosts potentially liable if they serve alcohol to an already intoxicated adult, or to a minor, who then becomes involved in an accident that causes injury to a third party. Other state laws hold social hosts potentially liable under their existing dram shop laws. Kentucky has no law allowing an injured person to seek damages from social hosts whose intoxicated adult guests cause injury after being served alcohol at private functions. Additionally, the state’s dram shop liability law applies only to vendors licensed to sell or serve alcohol under state law, not to private individuals.

If you or a loved one were injured because of a dram law violation, you should seek the guidance of an auto accident lawyer at Crandall & Pera Law

Their in-depth knowledge of Kentucky motor vehicle and dram shop laws equip the attorneys of Crandall & Pera Law to aggressively assert your interests and work toward securing for you all the benefits and protections the law provides. If you are injured by an inebriated driver, the possibility of a successful dram shop claim may depend on proving that a reasonable person would have known that the defendant was already intoxicated when served.

By assessing the facts, an experienced Kentucky dram shop liability attorney at Crandall & Pera Law can argue concerning the extent, if any, to which those who served alcohol to the defendant ought to share responsibility for the crash and its related damages. We are interested in your accidental injury and want to help. Please call us at 877-686-8879 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Kentucky dram shop liability attorney. We have offices conveniently located in Lexington and Louisville.

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