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Alcohol vendor may be held liable for over-serving a customer

A DUI collision can have devastating impacts, including causing serious injuries or even death. A person injured in this type of accident in Pennsylvania has the right to take legal action in an effort to hold the driver who is allegedly at fault in the accident financially accountable. However, the victim can also seek accountability from alcohol retailers and bars for over-serving a customer who subsequently caused a DUI accident. 

"Dram shop" laws allow an injury victim -- or the surviving loved ones of a person killed in a DUI crash -- to file a civil lawsuit against alcohol vendors in certain circumstances. If a plaintiff ends up winning a suit against a vendor as well as the driver who was intoxicated, compensatory damages will be divided between both defendants. The process of proving fault, however, can be complicated when dealing with an alcohol vendor.

A plaintiff must prove that the vendor actually sold alcohol to the drunk driver. There must also be proof that the plaintiff suffered injuries. It is also necessary to prove that intoxication was one of the causes of damages.

Proximate cause between intoxication and the sale of alcohol in connection with the accident must also be established. Liability will be established to the court's satisfaction if there is adequate proof that a vendor, in over-serving a customer,  knew -- or should have realized -- that the customer was so inebriated that additional alcohol could cause harm to that individual or to others. A monetary award in such a case in Pennsylvania may help with covering hospital bills and other financial losses tied to a  DUI wreck.

Source: FindLaw, "Dram Shop Laws", Accessed on April 14, 2015

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