In Pittsburgh, if a person has been injured or a loved one killed by a drunk driver, the accountability doesn't always fall solely on the driver of the vehicle who caused the injury. Sometimes the person or establishment that contributed to the intoxication of the driver can also be held accountable.
Over-serving a customer alcoholic beverages in a bar or restaurant when that person is already intoxicated can place the server or establishment in a position where they can be held liable should that person leave their premises and cause injury to themselves or another.
One might argue that it is not easy to tell when some people are intoxicated, or that it is not the bartender or server's responsibility to monitor a patron's drinking. However, they can be held just as responsible when they serve an obviously over-intoxicated person and then allow them to leave the establishment alone in that condition.
Most of these restaurant and bar liability cases stem from drunk drivers causing an accident that resulted in harm to themselves or someone else. Occasionally, there are other circumstances where over-serving a customer alcoholic beverages can result in an injury or fatal accident. Different states may also differ slightly in what is and isn't enforceable.
Recently in Oklahoma, an intoxicated man was killed while walking, and the bartenders who served the man have been charged with a felony. The 48-year-old man, who worked as a pilot, allegedly left a bar around 1:00 a.m. so intoxicated that he was crawling across the street when he was hit by two different cars.
The first car to hit him was driven by an 18-year-old girl who left the scene, went home and told her parents. He was then hit by a second car. This driver remained at the scene, but the intoxicated man didn't make it through the second hit.
Prosecutors charged two bartenders for serving the intoxicated man after they found receipts for the alcohol on him. The bartenders reportedly felt like it was safe for the man to leave their establishment intoxicated because they knew he was walking home. This man's alcohol level was allegedly reported at .30, which is quadruple the state's legal limit.
Restaurants and bars need to take their liability for the condition in which their customers leave seriously. There can be major consequences for customers, employees, and the business if they don't.
Source: newson6.com, "Tulsa Man Hit And Killed By Two Cars, Bartenders Charged With Over Serving" Lori Fullbright, Jan. 29, 2014