New Jersey, similar to several other states in the US, has what is called a “dram shop” law. Cases involving party hosts serving too many drinks are often quite complicated, and usually require a lot of evidence and a detailed understanding of the law.
Dram Shop Law in New Jersey
Dram shop laws typically allow parties who are injured due to an alcohol-related accident, such as drunk driving, to file a liability claim against the bar, restaurant, casino, or any other business that served alcohol to the person who caused the injury.
To be considered a dram shop case, the vender must have either served alcohol to a “visibly intoxicated” person or a patron whom the vendor should have reasonably known was under 21.
An example of a dram shop case might go as follows:
Johnny B. Drunk is watching the game at a local bar. His team is playing horribly and Johnny continues drinking to cope with the stress and frustration. As Johnny continues drinking, he begins to slur his speech and is having trouble keeping his balance when standing up. He even falls off his chair at one point, but the bartender keeps handing him drinks. By the time the game is over, Johnny is upset and decides to drive home. He makes it less than a block before he crashes into a pedestrian. The pedestrian would likely file a lawsuit against both Johnny and the local bar where he was drinking.
Social Host Liability
Similar to dram shop laws, someone who is injured by an intoxicated person may be able to sue a social host who provided alcohol to the person who went on to hurt them.
For example, if Jenny S. Walken is strolling down the sidewalk minding her own business when Johnny B. Drunk crashes into her with his car (drunk drivers are very often repeat offenders) shortly after leaving a party at a friend’s house, then Jenny may sue Johnny and his friend.
Social hosts don’t necessarily have to physically provide alcohol to the person who goes on to cause an injury. Social hosts may be held liable for injuries that any of their guests go on to cause if the party was BYOB, or if it was self-serve.
It is the responsibility of a social host or a vendor to make sure that their guests do not cause harm to themselves and/or others. Continuing to serve alcohol to an already drunk person or a minor is irresponsible, and the host or vendor should be held accountable for it.
The Atlantic City personal injury attorneys with Targan & Pender, PC have helped numerous people get justice and take back their lives following a drunk driving accident.