When a person drives under the influence and causes an accident, they can be held liable for their actions. However, they may not be the only one. If the drunk driver was being served alcohol at an establishment or another person’s home before they caused an accident, the individual serving them may be liable as well. This is done through DRAM Shop laws and Social Host laws.
DRAM Shop Laws
In Pennsylvania, DRAM shop laws are in effect to protect those who are a victim of drunk driving accidents. This exists to hold an establishment with a liquor license responsible if they serve a visibly intoxicated person who then goes on to cause an accident. Signs of intoxication can include slurred speech, glassy or bloodshot eyes, difficulty finishing sentences, incoherent speech, stumbling, falling, impaired fine-motor skills, and more.
If the licensed establishment or individual continues to serve them, they can be legally responsible for injuries and damages the person may cause. This goes for bars, restaurants, and private events. DRAM shop laws are applied under the following conditions:
- An employee of the establishment serves alcohol to a person who was visibly intoxicated
- The decision to serve the intoxicated customer directly caused injuries and damages
Social Host Laws
Under social host laws, those who host parties can be held liable for the actions of guests who leave their event intoxicated. The state of Pennsylvania does not have social host laws for guests of all ages, but for serving alcohol to minors. If an underage guest consumes alcohol at an adult’s party and is involved in a car accident, the host can be held responsible for the accident.
This law is in place even if the adult host was unaware that minors were drinking at their party. Social host laws can be applied in the following situations:
- If a minor consumes alcohol at your party and is injured or killed in an accident
- If a minor consumes alcohol at your party and injures or kills someone else
What Do I Do if I Am Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident?
If you are involved in a drunk driving accident, it is important to seek medical attention first. This allows you to address and take care of any injuries due to the accident. In addition to this, the healthcare professional will document these injuries, outlining the injuries and their extent. This can help you begin to build a case against the driver that caused the accident. Police reports from the accident can also be useful when building a case, as it documents all the information regarding the accident and how it happened. It is crucial for victims of a drunk driving accident to enlist an experienced attorney to help them gather the information they need for a successful case.
Contact our Firm
Friedman Schuman is an experienced and dedicated legal resource for clients throughout Pennsylvania. We proudly serve clients facing a wide range of legal matters. If you require the services of an effective attorney, please contact Friedman Schuman today to schedule a consultation.