“Dram Shop” laws allow injured parties to sue bars for overserving alcohol and causing injuries. Many, but not all, dram shop cases involve injured third parties suing bars after a drunk bar patron injured them in a car accident.
While injured third parties bring many dram shop cases, there are instances where the overserved bar patron can sue the bar for injuries. However, this right might be more limited than in other kinds of cases. To prove a bar is liable for injuries in a dram shop case, the plaintiff must show that the bar knowingly overserved an already intoxicated patron or a patron that was younger than 21. Liability may be tricky because the bar will almost certainly argue that the intoxicated plaintiff’s negligence contributed to their own injuries. You will need evidence that the bar knew that serving you alcohol was illegal.
If you were injured in an accident after being overserved alcohol, our New Jersey personal injury attorneys can help you hold the bar that served you liable. For a free case review, call Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769.
Can I Sue a Bar if I Get Hurt After They Overserved Me in New Jersey?
Typically, bar patrons who are overserved and injured in an alcohol-related accident cannot hold the bar liable for their injuries. Traditionally, the law has held that intoxicated bar patrons are still liable for their own actions. However, the 2011 New Jersey Supreme Court case of Voss v. Tranquilino held otherwise.
Under this case law, drunk patrons can sue the bars that overserved them even if they plead guilty to or are found guilty of a DWI. In the past, people who either pled guilty or were found guilty of DWIs lost any cause of action they had against the bar that overserved them. The Court decided this was antithetical to the purpose of dram shop laws, which is to hold bars accountable for knowingly overserving alcohol and creating a greater risk of accidents and injuries.
Keep in mind that you cannot sue the bar simply because you were charged and convicted of a DWI; you can only sue for injuries. If you were charged with a DWI but did not suffer any actual injuries, you cannot sue. However, if you crashed into a tree, wall, another driver, or were otherwise hurt, our Jersey City personal injury attorneys can help you sue for your injuries.
Liability for Injuries After a Bar Overserves You and You Get Hurt in New Jersey
According to N.J.S.A. § 2A:22A-5, a person may sue a bar after a patron is overserved alcohol and causes an accident and injuries. To be held liable, the bar must either serve any patron under the age of 21 or serve a visibly intoxicated patron. The key to liability is showing that the bar knew the patron was underage or intoxicated when they were served.
In many cases, the person filing the lawsuit is a third party injured by an intoxicated bar patron. However, the statute does not explicitly state the plaintiff must be a third party. The above-mentioned case law has strengthened the intoxicated bar patron’s right to bring a lawsuit after being overserved. As such, bar patrons who are overserved alcohol and get into accidents can sue the bar for their injuries.
Proving liability in these cases can be difficult as a bar patron who voluntarily consumes alcohol might be deemed contributorily negligent. It is often difficult for the overserved patron to file this kind of lawsuit because the bar tends to claim that the plaintiff is to blame for their own intoxication. Our Newark personal injury attorneys can help you hold the bar liable for overserving you even though they had a legal duty to do otherwise.
What Damages Can I Sue for After a Bar Overserved Me Alcohol in New Jersey?
After being injured in an accident, you can sue the bar that overserved you for your damages. Your damages may include many injuries and losses ranging from costly medical bills to property damage and more. Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys can help you calculate your damages and get the most compensation possible.
Medical bills are often very expensive, especially if the injured plaintiff suffered severe injuries. Even without health insurance, injured accident victims are often overwhelmed by the cost of medical care. After an accident, you might face surgeries, medications, and multiple doctor visits.
Depending on how the accident happened, you might also be able to claim lost property as part of your damages. If you were involved in a car accident, you can claim the value of your damaged vehicle as part of your damages. If you lost valuable personal belongings, you can claim them as part of your damages.
Injured bar patrons may experience great physical pain and emotional distress after an accident from being overserved. While these experiences are not necessarily connected to a monetary value, they still deserve compensation. We can argue for these damages by explaining to the court how they have negatively impacted your daily life.
Evidence in a Case Against a Bar for Overserving Alcohol in New Jersey
As you now know, a bar can be held liable for your injuries after overserving you if they knew you were under 21 or you were visibly intoxicated when you were served. As such, the evidence in your case will revolve around these elements. In addition, you will need evidence of how the accident happened and the extent of your injuries and damages.
If you were under the age of 21 when you were overserved, we must gather evidence that the bartender knew you were under 21, or reasonably should have known, and continued to furnish you with alcohol. In some cases, plaintiffs do not even use fake IDs to get drinks, and the bar knows they are serving an underage patron.
If you were visibly intoxicated, we can get security camera footage from the bar to show that you were clearly intoxicated while being served. We can also have witnesses from the bar testify about your state of intoxication.
Call Our New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys for Help
If you were injured in an accident after being overserved alcohol at a bar, our New Jersey personal injury attorneys can help you get compensation for your damages. For a free case review, call Legal Care New Jersey at (732) 838-9769.