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FAQs About Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Laws

January 20, 2022

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

A man was recently injured while inside a pub and is now suing the establishment as well as the individual that injured him. The man was inside a bar when a patron continued to be served alcohol after he became visibly intoxicated. The patron tried to take the man’s seat and was asked to leave by bartenders. After the man asked the patron to stop being disruptive, the patron punched him in the head and the man suffered injuries that required stitches.

Individuals that are hurt by intoxicated people can sue the restaurant, bar, or even the private host that continues to serve them if underage, but these laws are largely misunderstood. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the dram shop laws of the state, and the answers to them.

What is the Dram Shop Law in Pennsylvania?

Under the dram shop law in Pennsylvania, establishments and individuals licensed to serve alcohol can be held legally responsible for injuries and other damages an intoxicated person may cause. While the law does apply to restaurants and bars, it also applies to private events, as well.

The dram shop laws in the state are often cited when a drunk driver causes a serious auto accident. However, as in the above story, there are other situations in which a person or establishment can be held liable, too. Even if a person becomes intoxicated and falls or becomes injured, they can still sue the establishment for over-serving them.

Do Dram Shop Laws Apply to Private Parties?

Yes. When an individual hosts a party and they over-serve an underage guest who then injures someone, the host can be held liable. Catering companies and bar services can also be held legally liable if they over-serve guests at a private party and one of them injures another person.

When Should Hosts Stop Serving a Person?

Everybody processes alcohol differently and so, it is not always easy to determine if a person is intoxicated. The most common signs of intoxication include:

  • Incoherent speech
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Glassy eyes
  • Falling or stumbling
  • Slow reaction times
  • Poor coordination
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired fine motor skills, such as if someone has trouble opening their wallet

When a bartender notices these signs of intoxication and continues to serve someone alcohol, the bar can be held liable for paying any damages that result.

Call Our Personal Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia Today

Whether you have been hurt by a drunk driver or you have been injured during an altercation, our Philadelphia personal injury lawyer can help. At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, our skilled attorney will determine who is liable for paying the financial compensation that can help you recover from your injuries. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help with your case.



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