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Does Pennsylvania have a dram shop liability law?

It is common today to see signs posted in dram shops, bars or even restaurants telling customers that the staff reserves the right to refuse service to people who appear visibly intoxicated. There is a very good reason for these postings as just about every state in the nation has legislature addressing liability for over-serving customers. Pennsylvania is no exception, with carefully worded legal code to handle these matters.

In Pennsylvania, the code states that alcohol licensees cannot be held liable for third party injuries suffered off premises and caused by someone who was served at the establishment. In simple-speak, this means that if a bar customer crashes into you after leaving the premises, the dram shop cannot be held liable. However, what if a bartender serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated customer before the accident?

That is the exception to the rule. The code states that an establishment may be liable for third-party injuries on and off the premises if the establishment furnishes alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons. While it can be difficult to prove fault in these cases, it is certainly not impossible.

In today's world, many people rely on motor vehicles to travel, but alcohol and automobiles do not mix. These laws exist to discourage bartenders from over-serving customers, which can lead to DUI accidents and serious injury. Dram shop liability laws provide injured parties with a legal remedy to punish establishments that do not comply with the law.

For anyone who believes that an establishment serving alcohol contributed to a DUI car accident, it is worth talking over the incident with a personal injury lawyer.

Source: National Conference of State Legislature, "Dram Shop Liability, Pennsylvania," accessed Feb. 07, 2017

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