What are Dram Shop Laws ?

From 2003-2012, almost 2,000 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in the state of Washington. While the majority of people know that it’s illegal to drive while intoxicated, you may not be aware that there are additional laws in place to help protect victims of drunk drivers as well as hold establishments that over-serve an individual alcohol accountable. These laws are called Dram Shop laws, and are currently in effect in 43 states, including Washington.

What are Dram Shop Laws?

A dram shop is traditionally a location like a bar or tavern where spirits were sold by the dram, which is a small unit of liquid. Today this can be a bar, restaurant, liquor store, or any commercial business that serves alcohol.

Dram Shop laws are a set of laws that permit a victim in a drunk driving accident to receive restitution from the establishment that negligently overserved the drunk driver. This can allow for both a settlement from the intoxicated driver as well as the business that overserved the driver.

Over-Serve Laws in Washington

Washington State Law states, “No person shall sell any liquor to any person apparently under the influence of liquor.” Because of this the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove that the establishment knew the drunk driver was already intoxicated due to signs like slurred speech or balance issues and continued to serve the intoxicated patron despite the warning signs. This can sometimes be difficult to gather evidence for and prove, which is why consulting a DUI and liability attorney is often a good idea.

Vancouver, WA Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were recently injured in a drunk driving or suspected drunk driving accident, and don’t know where to start, call Philbrook Law today. We can help you navigate a confusing and stressful time, and help you get the restitution you deserve.

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