This article discusses:
In the 1980’s New Jersey enacted the “New Jersey Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Fair Liability Act.” It is commonly known as the Dram Shop Act. It provides that licensed servers (bars, taverns, restaurants) are liable for injuries caused by alcohol service if service of alcohol was made to a person who is “visibly intoxicated.” A simple example of this law is that a bar is responsible to an injured person who was hit by a drunk driver who was served liquor at the bar while he was visibly intoxicated. The law also holds a bar liable if it serves a minor and the minor then goes out and causes a car accident. An intoxicated person may also sue a bar if he is served while visibly intoxicated and then goes out and drives while drunk and crashes and sustains injury.
In addition, if a homeowner or renter serves alcohol at his home to a visibly intoxicated person, and that visibly intoxicated person then causes a car accident, the person hit by the intoxicated driver can sue the homeowner or renter. Also, if the homeowner or renter provides alcohol to a minor and the minor causes an accident, the homeowner or renter can be sued and held responsible for injuries the minor caused.
The term “visibly intoxicated” has been defined to mean that the person served shows clear signs of intoxication. Such signs are bloodshot eyes, difficulty with speech, stumbling, swaying, and similar characteristics.
One of our cases involved a client who was who was injured by a driver who had been drinking beer from a concession stand at a racetrack. We retained an expert with a doctorate in organic chemistry. He opined that the intoxicated driver, based upon scientific blood alcohol levels, would have had to consume ten 12 ounce containers of beer at the racetrack to reach his measured blood alcohol level. He further opined that the intoxicated driver would have exhibited increasing physical manifestations and unmistaken signs of alcohol intoxication while being served by the concession. We were able to resolve this case with a substantial payment from the concession.
Another case our firm handled involved a man who attended a wedding at a catering hall in New Jersey. He was served alcohol at the wedding and became visibly intoxicated. He then went with his fiancé to his uncle’s house. He and other family members sat around the uncle’s swimming pool. The pool had a slide in the shallow end. Because of his intoxicated condition, our client believed the slide signified deep water. He dove into the shallow end of the pool next to the slide, hit the bottom, and fractured his neck, leaving him permanently paralyzed. After two weeks of trial, we were able to settle the matter with a significant payment by all defendants including the catering hall because of the negligent service of alcohol.
A third case case we handled involved a man who became intoxicated at the bar of a chain restaurant. He got into his car while intoxicated, drove into an intersection, and “t-boned” a truck. He suffered very significant injuries. We filed suit against the restaurant and were able to prevail because we were able to locate a former bartender who testified that the bartenders at this particular location routinely served visibly intoxicated persons if they thought the person wasn’t driving.
In sum, we have the experience and track record to handle your case arising from improper service of alcohol. With our guidance, you will know that your case is in capable hands. Please call or text us at 973.204.6573 for a free consultation.