Philadelphia Dram Shop Liability Attorneys
Thousands of people die or are injured on Pennsylvania and national highways every year because of alcohol-related accidents. When this happens, parties other than drunk drivers might be liable for victims’ damages.
Pennsylvania prohibits establishments, like bars, restaurants, or nightclubs, from overserving intoxicated individuals or serving minors. If such establishments choose to overserve patrons and those patrons then cause drunk driving accidents, the establishments can be held liable. The statute of limitations to file a dram shop liability claim in Philadelphia is two years from the date of injury. Our attorneys will use evidence such as eyewitness statements and surveillance footage from an establishment to prove liability in such cases. In these types of claims, victims can recover compensation for their financial and emotional losses, as well as punitive damages.
To have the Philadelphia dram shop liability lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm review your case for free, call us today at (215) 709-6940.
What is Dram Shop Liability Law in Philadelphia?
In Pennsylvania, people who are harmed by drunk drivers may file lawsuits against irresponsible and reckless bar owners, as well as the intoxicated drinker. An intoxicated person who causes a catastrophic accident or fatality while operating a motor vehicle, as well as the business person, establishment, or social host who gave alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person or minor is legally responsible for any damage that that person may cause.
According to 47 Pa.C.S. § 4-493(1), “it shall be unlawful” for bars to serve persons who are visibly intoxicated. This means that if a bar serves a drunk person and he or she is injured, the bar is responsible.
We find that many bar owners, restaurant owners, as well as social hosts act in an irresponsible way by serving people beyond the point of legal intoxication limit who then go out and cause accidents. These bar owners are more interested in making a quick buck on a drink than calling a cab for a drunk customer. They insist on placing profitability over the greater need for public health and safety.
Although there are many training programs for restaurant and bar owners concerning alcohol awareness, we have found that many bar and restaurant owners do not want to spend the money to send their employees to these programs. Bartenders may be more interested in bigger tips than doing the responsible thing by refusing to serve an intoxicated patron. Bar owners and social hosts must act responsibly because they are selling dangerous substances that pose a risk to their customers and others on the roads.
It is important that the people who irresponsibly sell alcohol to an individual that is intoxicated be held financially responsible for the resulting injuries and fatalities. Pennsylvania law is clear that it is illegal to sell alcohol to either a minor or a person who is obviously intoxicated.
Consequences of Overserving Intoxicated Patrons in Philadelphia
Establishments that serve alcohol to intoxicated individuals to increase their revenue can ultimately cause drunk driving accidents and other incidents in Philadelphia.
According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Philadelphia had 26 alcohol-related car accident fatalities in 2022. Philadelphia has countless bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, often concentrated in certain areas of the city, making it easy for patrons to walk from one establishment to another, return to their cars, and drive home. Carelessness on behalf of these establishments when it comes to overserving patrons or serving minors can lead to devastating car accidents that might kill or severely injure victims.
Because intoxicated drivers have little to no reaction time and often do not break before striking a victim, impacts often happen at high speeds. Philadelphia has considerable foot traffic at all times of the day and night, meaning pedestrians might be more likely to be struck by intoxicated drivers who have been overserved at nearby establishments.
Whether a victim is hit as a pedestrian, driver, or passenger, they might sustain life-altering injuries. Common injuries caused by drunk driving include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, loss of limb, burn injuries, and broken bones. Drivers and victims alike might be seriously injured in these accidents.
What to Do After a Drunk Driving Accident Involving Dram Shop Negligence in Philadelphia
In the moments after being struck by a drunk driver in Philadelphia, you do not know the reason for their intoxication or if an establishment overserved them. It is best to assume that is the case so that you can more easily pursue compensation.
After an auto accident that causes injury, regardless of the root cause of the crash, victims should call the police. Law enforcement officials can interview a negligent driver, confirm their intoxication, and include such information in a police report.
Establishing the severity of your injuries immediately after an accident is also crucial. This will allow our attorneys to connect your damages to a drunk driver’s actions and, by extension, an establishment’s recklessness. Continue to get the proper medical care from doctors and specialists as you recover from your injuries.
In the days after your accident, speak with our lawyers to learn about your options for recovery. Our attorneys can explain the benefits of filing a dram shop liability lawsuit so that you feel comfortable and confident moving forward. It is important to be proactive in pursuing litigation so that evidence is not destroyed or otherwise becomes inaccessible.
Statute of Limitations for Dram Shop Liability Lawsuits in Philadelphia
You will only have a set period of time during which you can bring a dram shop liability lawsuit in Philadelphia. Heeding this filing deadline will be important so that you can recover compensation for your injuries.
In Philadelphia, the statute of limitations for dram shop liability claims is two years from the date of injury. This is the same filing deadline for filing a lawsuit against a drunk driver.
Knowing the statute of limitations is crucial for several reasons. First, victims might not be aware that another party, in addition to a drunk driver, shares liability for their injuries. It is important to share your case with our dram shop liability lawyers so that we can explore the possibility that a bar, restaurant, or nightclub is partially to blame for your damages.
Second, you will be barred from recovery if you miss the filing deadline. This goes for claims victims might filed against drunk drivers as well.
Proving Dram Shop Liability in Philadelphia
To prove liability for a victim’s injuries following an accident caused by a drunk driver, victims must prove that the bar or restaurant served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person and that the person’s intoxication was the cause of the victim’s injuries in Pennsylvania.
This is done through evidence. Following an accident caused by a drunk driver, our dram shop liability lawyers will review the circumstances that led to the incident. If the intoxicated individual was out at a bar, nightclub, or restaurant, we will continue our investigation to confirm whether or not the establishment overserved the intoxicated individual. This can be confirmed by obtaining security camera footage from the establishment and interviewing eyewitnesses. If the establishment refuses to provide security camera footage, our attorneys can subpoena it.
Suppose the person who caused your accident was underage and served alcohol at a bar or restaurant. In that case, we can use similar evidence to confirm that the establishment did not properly check the minor’s ID to confirm whether or not they were legally permitted to drink alcohol in Philadelphia.
Compensation in Dram Shop Liability Claims in Philadelphia
When considering your options for compensation following a drunk driving accident in Philadelphia, know that suing a liquor establishment for dram shop liability might result in greater damages than only suing a negligent driver.
That is because punitive damages might be available in dram shop liability claims. Victims can recover punitive damages in cases where gross recklessness has caused their injuries. The fact that an establishment overserved a visibly intoxicated person, knowing they could possibly drunk drive after leaving, could be considered gross negligence. There is no limit on punitive damages in dram shop liability claims in Philadelphia.
In addition to punitive damages, victims can recover compensation for their financial and emotional losses in dram shop liability lawsuits. Economic damages can compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages can compensate you for the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of a drunk driving accident in Philadelphia. Be sure to keep all records of your losses as you incur them to act as proof of damages in your lawsuit.
Call Our Philadelphia Attorneys About Your Case Today
Call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 to discuss your case for free with our dram shop liability lawyers.