Scranton Dram Shop Liability Lawyer | Scartelli Olszewski, P.C.
Dram Shop Liquor Liability

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Dram Shop Liquor Liability

Like many other states, Pennsylvania has dram shop liability laws. These laws help protect victims who have suffered at the hands of intoxicated individuals. You can file a civil lawsuit to recover compensation for the damages caused by the intoxicated person. However, you can hold a liquor shop, bar, tavern, or individual selling alcohol to an intoxicated person liable.

These claims are often complex, requiring you to speak with a seasoned Scranton dram shop liability lawyer first. Only a skilled and experienced lawyer can help you understand whether you have a claim and how much compensation you can recover.

As a leading dram shop liability attorney in Scranton, PA, Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. has protected the rights of clients injured or whose property was damaged in:

  • Drunk driving accidents
  • Bar fights
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Assaults
  • Or other incidents involving intoxicated persons

What Is Dram Shop Liability?

A dram shop liability is a civil liability statute. Every state has its own set of dram shop liability laws. Pennsylvania dram shop liability law prohibits individuals and establishments from serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons.

The state’s “dram shop” law applies to drinking establishments, retail stores that sell alcohol, private clubs and events, and individuals who serve alcohol to minors or visibly intoxicated guests.

This liquor liability law holds such parties civilly liable for any damages or injuries an intoxicated individual causes, even after leaving the premises. The dram shop law also applies to establishments and individuals selling or serving alcohol without a license or after hours.

In other words, the victims of drunk driving, physical altercations, and other harmful acts can hold alcohol vendors responsible for the damages. The individuals harmed in such incidents are usually third-party victims. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in these incidents, you should speak with a dram shop liability lawyer in Scranton, PA.

How Dram Shop Liability Laws Are Different In Pennsylvania

Dram shop liability laws vary from state to state. There are three distinct variations you can see.

  • The Burden of Proof: In dram shop claims, you (the plaintiff) have to prove that the person serving alcohol knew or should have known that the patron was drunk or under the legal age of drinking. However, in some states, serving alcohol past closing time or without a license can also help establish negligence. It’s necessary to speak with a dram shop liability attorney in Scranton, PA, to understand how you can file a successful claim.
  • Liability: In Pennsylvania, a dram shop liability claim is possible if the person who caused the accident or assault was underage or there is proof that they were drunk before leaving the establishment.
  • Notice Requirement: The time limits to bring such claims also varies from state to state. In some states, you (the plaintiff) may have less than 60 days to notify the defendant (bar or tavern owner who served the alcohol). In Pennsylvania, this limit is two years after the date of injury or death.

Underage Drinkers

Under the Pennsylvania Dram Shop Act, 47 P.S. Sections 4-493(1) and 4-497, a licensed alcohol server, or “licensee,” such as a bar or restaurant, may be held liable for serving alcohol to either a minor (under 21) or an adult who is “visibly intoxicated.”

In other words, visible intoxication is unnecessary when a minor is involved. But you should consult a seasoned dram shop liability attorney, to understand your legal options. The law also requires you (the plaintiff) to prove that:

  • A licensee served the patron alcoholic beverages while they appeared visibly intoxicated or were a minor.
  • And this violation proximately caused your (the plaintiff’s) injuries.

Given the complexity involved in such claims, it’s best to speak with a dram shop liability lawyer first. Your lawyer can help you understand two things:

  • Whether or not you have a dram shop liability claim
  • How much your claim is worth

A dram shop claim may also be incorporated into a motor vehicle accident claim involving DUI/DWI (driving under the influence of alcohol). Our attorneys have extensive knowledge and trial experience to effectively demonstrate the application of liquor liability law in dram shop lawsuits.

How a Scranton Dram Shop Liability Attorney Can Help

Taverns, bars, restaurants, and even private hosts can be held responsible if they knowingly continue to serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron, who then causes an accident or assaults someone.

Determining that the patron being served alcoholic beverages was underage is straightforward. However, proving that a patron was visibly intoxicated when served is often easier said than done. You need to consult an attorney immediately.

Here’s how a dram shop liability lawyer in Scranton, PA, can help you.

  • First, your lawyer will evaluate your case thoroughly. This helps you understand if you have a valid dram shop claim and how to proceed.
  • Your dram shop liability lawyer in Scranton, PA, will also dig deeper into your claim. This investigation is often necessary to strengthen your claim. This is when your lawyer will find evidence to support your claim.
  • Your lawyer will also take care of all your case-related paperwork. This means your paperwork will be submitted on time and without mistakes.
  • But most importantly, your lawyer will negotiate to get the settlement you deserve. However, your Scranton dram shop liability attorney will also prepare for trial if the negotiations fail.

Talk to a competent attorney as quickly as possible. These claims are often time-sensitive and also need additional investigation. That’s why you should act as soon as possible.

Do You Have a Case? Contact Scartelli Olszewski, P.C.

Were you or your loved one injured by an intoxicated individual? Whether it was an assault or an accident, you may have grounds for a dram shop claim. You might be able to recover compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering, among other things. Get in touch with our experienced and skilled Scranton dram shop liability attorneys.

Share your situation with us as soon as possible so we can get ready to fight for your rights. As a leading dram shop liability lawyer in Scranton, PA, we have represented victims in state and federal courts. Please do not hesitate to contact us today. Call (570) 346-2600 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation.