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New Jersey Dram Shop Laws

If you were injured by an intoxicated defendant, your legal matter might include a dram shop claim. In New Jersey, bars and other companies that serve alcohol may be held legally and financially responsible for a car accident that results from a defendant being overserved alcohol. 

Dram shop matters are more complicated than other lawsuits, but experienced attorneys like Console & Associates have what it takes to hold all defendants, including dram shops, accountable for the harm they cause. Our dram shop lawyers represent clients in situations like yours at no upfront cost. 

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What Is a Dram Shop Law? 

The term “dram shop” generally refers to any company or commercial establishment where alcohol is sold. This term dates back to the 18th century, when these establishments sold gin or other spirits by the “dram” (a small measurement about equivalent to a spoonful). 

Dram shop laws are laws that govern liquor liability on the part of these establishments. New Jersey’s Dram Shop Act is the Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Fair Liability Act, Section N.J.S.A. 2A:22A-5 under the New Jersey Revised Statutes. 

Under this New Jersey law, a dram shop supplying alcohol may be held responsible for the harm caused by its intoxicated patrons or customers in certain situations. Dram shop laws most commonly apply to car accidents, but they may also apply to other injury matters, such as assaults. 

What Is Liquor Liability? 

When alcohol is a major factor in an accident that injures someone, the business that provided the liquor leading to this incident may be liable, or legally responsible, for the harm that results. 

Dram shop lawsuits most commonly arise out of a drunk driving car accident. Generally, if the dram shop was found to have overserved a defendant who then struck a pedestrian or another vehicle with their car, that business may be responsible (or partly responsible) for compensating the victim harmed by the intoxicated driver. 

Under New Jersey law, a dram shop can generally be held responsible when the server acted negligently by serving alcohol to someone who was “visibly intoxicated.” Further, the harm that the victim suffered must have been “proximately caused” by this negligent serving of alcohol, and the injury must be a “foreseeable consequence” of serving alcohol to the visibly intoxicated person. 

In the case of a drunk driving accident, continuing to serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person and allowing them to get behind the wheel can be said to be a cause of the collision. The injuries a victim sustained in a drunk driving accident are foreseeable consequences of negligent service of alcohol. 

Who Is Responsible for a Dram Shop Accident? 

In a drunk driving car accident in New Jersey, the negligent driver may not be the only one responsible for the collision. The dram shop portion of the claim applies specifically to parties involved in the overserving of alcohol. 

Who Can Be Held Accountable for Damages in a Dram Shop Accident Lawsuit? 

The parties who may face legal and financial responsibility in a dram shop claim include: 

  • Bars, taverns, and pubs 
  • Clubs
  • Restaurants that serve alcohol 
  • Liquor stores and alcohol retailers 
  • Professional bartenders at weddings and events
  • Commercial venues that host weddings, events, and parties

In some cases, a private individual who hosts a party or provides alcohol may face a similar penalty under social host liability. 

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What Are the Potential Damages and Time Limits on Lawsuits Involving Dram Shop Matters in NJ? 

In a dram shop claim, victims injured in accidents caused by intoxicated individuals can generally seek compensation for any economic and non-economic harms and losses that result from the accident. These damages include: 

  • Medical bills and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and any decrease in future earning potential 
  • Pain and suffering 

In New Jersey, the time limit for filing a lawsuit in a personal injury matter, including dram shop claims, is generally two years from the date of the accident. 

Experienced New Jersey Dram Shop Lawyers Near You

When your car accident lawsuit includes a dram shop claim, you need an attorney familiar with these complicated legal matters. At Console & Associates, our dram shop law attorneys have plenty of experience recovering compensation from bars, clubs, and other dram shops. 

We are familiar with the unique challenges of proving fault in a dram shop case. Our prior successes in handling dram shop claims include a total settlement of more than $1,000,000 for two friends injured in a drunk driving accident. Let our attorneys help you recover the compensation you deserve from every party involved in your accident, including dram shops that overserved a drunk driver. We offer free consultations and no-win, no-fee legal representation, so nothing has to stand in the way of your recovery. Call (866) 778-5500 today for a free, no-obligation case review.

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