Our DUI Auto Injury Law Practice
Were you injured in a DUI accident in Pennsylvania? If so, you may have legal rights against the bar, restaurant or club which served the driver alcohol. This is known as a dram shop liability case.
Related DUI Accident Lawsuit Case Results in Pennsylvania
$4.4 million – A DUI auto accident resulted in two passengers being killed and another injured after a restaurant served too much alcohol to the driver of their vehicle
$1.1 million – Against a fraternity for negligently serving alcohol which resulted in a stabbing assault of two frat party attendees
$1 million – DUI accident, bar alcohol liability & medical malpractice case in Philadelphia, PA (January 2014)
DUI Auto Accidents in Pennsylvania
Each year in Pennsylvania, there are roughly 11,000 DUI related auto accidents. In addition, roughly 400 people die each year in this state due to an alcohol related car crash. That’s more than 1 person per day.
Also, since 2010, DUI auto injury deaths have accounted for over 30% of the total number of traffic fatalities in PA.
Dram Shop (Bar/Restaurant) Liability for Serving Alcohol
Pennsylvania Liquor Code – Illegal Conduct, Serving Alcohol
Dram shop liability is alive and well in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. However, in other states like Delaware, bars and restaurants cannot be held liable for serving alcohol. The Pennsylvania Liquor Code, sections 493 and 497, detail the prohibited acts related to serving alcohol and liability for injuries.
Section 493 – Selling or Serving Alcohol
Section 493(1) makes it illegal for licensed bars, restaurants, etc., to sell or serve alcohol to anyone who is visibly intoxicated or to minors.
Pennsylvania Liquor Code Section 493(1) provides:
Furnishing liquor or malt or brewed beverages to certain persons.
For any licensee or the board, or any employee, servant or agent of such licensee or of the board, or any other person, to sell, furnish or give any liquor or malt or brewed beverages, or to permit any liquor or malt or brewed beverages to be sold, furnished or given, to any person visibly intoxicated, or to any insane person, or to any minor, or to habitual drunkards, or persons of know intemperate habits.
Section 497 – Liability of Bars and Restaurants
Section 497 provides that licensed bars, restaurants, etc., may be held liable for selling or serving alcohol to a customer who is visibly intoxicated.
Pennsylvania Liquor Code Section 497 provides:
No licensee shall be liable to third persons on account of damages inflicted upon them off of the licensed premises by customers of the licensee unless the customer who inflicts the damages was sold, furnished or given liquor or malt or brewed beverages by the said licensee or his agent, servant or employee when the said customer was visibly intoxicated.
Proof to Win a DUI Accident Case Against a Bar/Restaurant in Pennsylvania
In order to win a DUI accident case against a bar or restaurant in Pennsylvania, the injured plaintiff must prove the following:
1. an employee at the establishment sold or served alcohol to the visibly intoxicated driver (or a minor),
2. the DUI driver was intoxicated when they left the establishment,
3. the bar/restaurant’s actions reasonably caused the DUI accident.
The key in Pennsylvania DUI accident lawsuits against bars/restaurants is evidence that the DUI driver was visibly intoxicated when they were served by the bar or restaurant. These cases often depend on witness testimony corroborating that the patron exhibited signs of intoxication, such as slurring, swaying, etc.
In addition, it’s important to note that the timeline of events is often key. If too much time has passed between the bar or restaurant’s service of alcohol and the DUI accident, the bar/restaurant may not be liable. For example, a bar or restaurant serves alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated, and it is early in the day. The individual leaves the establishment, goes to a house party and then causes a DUI accident several hours later. Here, the bar/restaurant’s actions may not be the proximate or legal cause of the DUI accident because the accident happened many hours after the individual left the bar.
Financial Compensation for DUI Accident Injuries in Pennsylvania
Oftentimes, the injuries in a DUI auto accident are quite severe. For instance, a passenger in a car hit by a DUI driver may be ejected from the vehicle and suffer critical internal injuries, spinal injuries and broken limbs. Ensuring fair and just financial compensation is a major concern.
Individuals who are injured in DUI auto accidents in Pennsylvania often have legal rights to receive financial compensation from the DUI driver as well as alcohol service establishments. Claims for financial compensation often include:
- medical bills,
- lost wages, and
- pain and suffering.
Related Legal Articles
DUI Accidents in Philadelphia – Is the Bar/Restaurant Liable? (January 13, 2014) An underage person gets into a bar in Philadelphia and drinks alcohol. He then gets behind the wheel and causes a DUI car accident. Does his passenger or others have any legal recourse against the bar for serving alcohol to the driver in the first place?
Pennsylvania Bar/Restaurant Negligence Update – Liability for Fights Outside of the Premises (July 15, 2013) Under Pennsylvania law, bars, restaurants and clubs can be held liable for fights which occur on the premises. For example, a bar in Philadelphia may be liable for a bar fight in the parking lot which leads to serious injuries.
Civil Liability in Alcohol Related Accidents in Pennsylvania – Alcohol Service Establishments (August 8, 2012) In Pennsylvania, there are many kinds of civil cases which involve liability related to serving alcohol. Under the law, any establishment which negligently serves alcohol is subject to liability if the person who is served is injured or causes injury.
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