Businesses that sell alcohol have a responsibility to do so in a responsible way. If a business sells alcohol to someone “in violation of the law,” and someone is injured or killed, then the business may be responsible. For example, if a bar or a restaurant sells alcohol to a visibly intoxicated customer, and that customer later injures or kills someone, the business may be responsible for the resulting injuries or death. In most instances, this scenario involves the drunk customer driving while intoxicated and either causing a crash or striking a pedestrian. Other contexts where this scenario commonly occurs include a convenient store selling alcohol to a visibly intoxicated customer or a minor.
In Alabama, the law that protects individuals who have been injured due to the illegal sale of alcohol is called the Dram Shop Act. The purpose of Alabama’s Dram Shop Act is to hold a business responsible where they have failed to take steps to sell alcohol in a safe manner. The principle behind the Dram Shop Act makes sense: The more alcohol a business sells, the more profit it makes. A business has an incentive to sell as much alcohol as possible, and may let the potential for profits cloud its judgment. In addition, an intoxicated customer is not likely to be in a frame of mind to make a good, safe decision.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, it is possible that a restaurant, bar, convenient store or other business may be partially liable for your resulting injuries. For more information about how our firm can help you, please contact our firm to speak to a personal injury lawyer.