If you are a frequent visitor to our blog, you already know that we talk about dram shop liability quite often. It is our effort to raise awareness about the many different causes of DUI accidents in or near Pittsburgh. In Pennsylvania, victims of auto accidents involving alcohol do have legal options if it is found that the drunk driver was over-served in an establishment.
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 and across the country, many bar owners take seriously their responsibility to keep their patrons safe by monitoring their alcohol intake. They know that over\-serving a customer may have devastating consequences. Two night clubs in another state are facing those consequences now because four police officers were involved in a deadly accident after leaving those establishments.
In Pennsylvania, a night out with the guys can be a fun time to let loose and enjoy each other's company. This can be especially true if one is away from home. However, for one young man, such a night ended in tragedy. Now his family is left trying to understand what happened, and a popular restaurant is facing charges of over\-serving a customer.
In Pennsylvania and other jurisdictions, establishments that serve alcohol may be liable if their customers cause injuries after overconsuming. A woman in another state is relying upon this law after she lost her husband in a fatal accident involving a 23-year-old intoxicated driver. The widow blames a local golf club for over\-serving a customer who then caused the five-vehicle pileup.
Concerts are a great way to celebrate with friends. When there are food and drinks combined with good music, everyone can have a good time. Stadium events in Pennsylvania and across the country can accommodate thousands of people who share a common enthusiasm for the headline act. However, if the stadium does not take precautions for the safety of its guests, the fun may end with wrongful death and premises liability claims.
Any establishment in Pennsylvania that serves alcohol is required not to serve alcohol to customers who are obviously already intoxicated. However, many establishments still do, and another patron or a motorist on the road may be hurt by the intoxicated person as a result. In one out-of-state case, a female patron recently sued a bar's owners, alleging that their over\-serving a customer caused her to suffer injuries from another customer.
In Pennsylvania, if an establishment that serves alcohol over-serves customers and the customers end up causing harm to other people, the establishment itself may be held financially responsible. In another state, a husband and wife recently decided to sue a tavern for over-serving a customer, thus allowing the customer to become drunk and attack the husband. The couple alleged that the tavern violated the Dram Shop Act.
Establishments serving alcohol in Pennsylvania may be held liable for any injuries or deaths that occur in motor vehicle accidents occasioned by their over-serving customers. In one out-of-state case, a man recently filed a lawsuit on his own behalf and on behalf of his two sons after an allegedly intoxicated driver caused a motor vehicle accident. The father claims that a Red Lobster restaurant's over-serving a customer led to the accident.
In some cases involving DUI in Pennsylvania, a bar may have over-served a customer, which led the person to become intoxicated before getting behind the wheel. In these situations, the bar may be held liable. In one recent case involving over-serving a customer, a bar might face civil liability as well as criminal liability for giving too much alcohol to a driver who ended up killing himself and other individuals in a car crash.