There are situations in which bar owners may be held responsible for injuries caused by their drunk and negligent patrons. However, it is not always easy to prove that a bar is negligent in its actions. Here are examples of situations that you may use to prove that a bar is responsible for its patron's actions:
No Proof of Age
A teenage looking girl walks into a bar, asks for a bottle of beer, and the bartender asks for her age. The girl claims that she is 22 years old, the bartender believes and serves her. Later, when the drunken girl rear-ends another motorist, it is revealed that she is only 20 years old.
In this case, the bar may be held liable for the injuries caused by the girl. The minimum drinking age is 21, and the bartender should have asked for proof of age instead of taking the girl at her word.
Serving an Intoxicated Person
A man walks into a bar and asks for a drink. His speech is slurred, he smells of alcohol, and he is staggering; it is clear that he is drunk. The bartender tells him to go home and sleep it off, but he removes a wad of bills and asks for the most expensive bottle of liquor. The bartender relents and serves him. Later while riding his motorcycle home, the intoxicated man ignores the traffic light and drives into another car, causing injuries.
This is another case in which the bar may be held liable for the ensuing injuries. The man's negligence may be transferred to the bar because Dram shop laws prohibit bars from selling more liquor to clients who are already intoxicated.
Serving after Closing Time
A bar has reached its closing time, but the last bartender is yet to leave. A man and a woman walk in, and despite the "Closed" sign on the door, the bartender lets them in and serves them. The two get into their car to drive home and causes an accident by driving over the centerline. If the bar was operating outside its allowed operating hours, then it can be held liable for the damages caused by the couple.
Dram shop laws differ by state, are complicated, and difficult to prove. For example, it can be difficult to prove that a person appeared drunk when he or she was served. Besides, they are also subject to court interpretations. If you are injured by a drunk driver, contact a lawyer (like those at Weathers Law Firm, LLC) to see if you can also hold the bar that served him liable for your damages.