Drunk again. Drunk male customer leaning at the bar counter and sleeping while glass with beer standing near him

Dram Shop Laws: What to Do if You’re Over Served

“Dram shop laws” refer to laws which are designed to hold alcohol vendors accountable for injuries and damage resulting from a DUI when certain conditions are met. If someone who was served at a particular establishment goes on to cause an an alcohol related crash, and the person who served them was aware of their inebriation, that establishment may be held liable. In New Jersey, one of a few states that maintains dram shop laws, the law can be found in Section 2A:22A-4 of the revised statutes. This law states that anyone who was injured during an alcohol-related crash may be able to sue the alcohol vendor if one or more of the following are true:


Drunk again. Drunk male customer leaning at the bar counter and sleeping while glass with beer standing near him

  • The person who caused the crash was served alcohol when already “visibly intoxicated.”
  • The individual who caused the crash was a minor under the age of 21, and the vendor was either aware of that fact or should be aware of that fact.

Can the Intoxicated Person Sue the Vendor?

It’s not typically feasible, although there is some precedent for this to be successful. If you are curious as to whether or not you may be able to file a suit against the vendor that served you prior to an alcohol related crash, contact an experienced drunk driving lawyer for a consultation. However, even if you are unable to sue on your own behalf, other persons involved who suffered injury or damages may be able to.

This gives victims more opportunity to recoup their costs, which can work to the alleged drunk driver’s benefit, as well. The law is also an important deterrent to drunk driving, as it places a certain amount of responsibility on alcohol vendors to protect the public from intoxicated drivers. Consult with a New Jersey attorney to determine whether or not you have a case against an alcohol vendor.

Call Maggiano, Digirolamo, & Lizzi P.C. for a Dram Shop Law Consultation Today!

Examples of a Dram Shop Lawsuit

Here’s an example of how a dram shop lawsuit might take shape. Let’s imagine that Sally visits McIntyre’s Pub after work. She has several drinks and settles in for the evening. The server notices that she’s slurring her words and may even see that she’s having difficulty walking on her way to the restroom. However, instead of cutting Sally off, the bartender continues to let her order drinks.

If Sally then gets into her car and causes a crash with another driver, whom we’ll call Louise, Louise will have a case against the vendor under the dram law statute. Sally may also be able to file suit against the pub, although a successful outcome is more unlikely. Louise can sue not only for damages, including medical care, but may also sue for punitive damages.

If you have been in an accident after you or someone who caused the accident was overserved by a vendor, contact a New Jersey injury attorney at Maggiano, Digirolamo, & Lizzi P.C. today. We’ll work with you to ensure your case has the best possible outcome.