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Dram Shop Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured by an intoxicated person, you have options. An Advocate can help.

A Dram Shop Lawyer Can Help Your Case

It is well-known that victims of drunk driving accidents can seek damages from the intoxicated driver. However, in some circumstances, the drunk driver may not be the only party held liable for the accident.

Generally speaking, a dram shop law is a civil liability statute that holds businesses and commercial establishments (bars, restaurants, taverns, liquor stores, etc.) responsible for serving or selling alcoholic beverages in a negligent manner. If the intoxicated patron then goes on to cause harm to another person, the alcohol vendor may be held liable.

The Advocates dram shop attorneys are here for you. We will help you understand your legal options, build your personal injury case, and negotiate a settlement.


Immediately after your accident, check for injuries

Hire Attorney

Contact The Advocates as soon as possible to begin the road to recovery


Seek medical treatment as soon as you can

Property Damage

Get any property damage assessed and fixed

Completed Treatment

Once you have completed treatment, your attorney will compile your medical records


Your Advocate will send a demand letter to the other party

Frequently Asked Questions

You will pay nothing out-of-pocket when you hire an Advocate.

Your initial consultation with us is always 100% free. There are never any upfront costs or hidden fees.

Our attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that our attorney fees are calculated as a percentage of your settlement. We don’t get paid unless we win your case and you receive a settlement.

For more information on how settlements and payment work, please see our contingency fee information page.

Not every accident requires an attorney. However, if the accident resulted in injuries or significant property damage, it is a good idea to contact a lawyer. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the claims process, which can be lengthy and complex.

Your attorney will build your case, keep track of your medical records, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary. Studies have shown that accident victims who hire a personal injury lawyer can receive settlements up to 3.5 times larger than if they settled on their own.

The best way to know if you have a case is to speak with an attorney. The Advocates offer free consultations—you can speak with a qualified legal team to understand what your case is worth without paying a dime. Once you have decided to hire an Advocate, we will investigate your accident to firmly establish liability.

Every personal injury case is different. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to accident claims. The length of the claims process will depend on the severity of your injuries, the willingness of the other party to settle, the court’s caseload, and more.

In general, personal injury cases can take anywhere from several months to a few years. It’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to get your case started. Each state has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases, after which you will lose your right of action.

When you hire The Advocates, we will begin investigating your accident immediately while you finish medical treatment. Once all evidence and medical records have been compiled, your attorney will send a demand letter to the other party’s insurance company. At this point, negotiations will begin.

In many cases, a settlement can be reached during negotiations. If the other party refuses to make a fair offer, you may choose to file a suit. In the litigation phase, your attorney will represent you in court in front of a judge, jury, and/or arbitrator.

We Get Results

$500 Million

In Settlements

A Team of Legal Professionals Assigned to Your Case

For more than 30 years, The Advocates have helped thousands of personal injury victims receive the compensation and care they deserve after their accidents, and we are prepared to do the same for you.

We can help you:

  • Understand the claims process
  • Gather evidence
  • Keep track of treatment
  • File your claim
  • Negotiate a settlement
  • Take your case to court if necessary

We only get paid if we win your case!

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Dram Shop Liability FAQs

When are dram shops liable for an intoxicated person’s actions?

In a dram shop case, the accident victim must prove that the alcohol vendor was serving alcohol in a negligent manner. This may include selling alcoholic drinks to the following people:

  • Individuals under the legal drinking age
  • Obviously intoxicated individuals
  • Known interdicted individuals

If a dram shop over-serves an individual, or serves alcohol to an individual who should not be served at all, and then that individual goes on to cause an accident, the dram shop may be held liable.

What kind of accidents may dram shops be held liable for?

Intoxicated people may cause injury to others (third persons) in a variety of ways. Some of these include:

  • Drunk driving accidents: If a driver is charged with a DUI after an accident, the dram shop may have some responsibility.
  • Bar fights: Over-serving already intoxicated individuals may lead to violence, which can result in serious injuries to anyone in the vicinity.
  • Slip-and-fall accidents: For example, suppose an individual named John is over-served at a bar. On his way out of the bar, John stumbles and falls down a set of stairs. He falls into Jen, who was already on her way up the stairs. The dram shop may be held liable for Jen’s injuries.

Dram shop liability is not necessarily limited to these three kinds of accidents. A personal injury attorney can help you determine who is liable for your injuries.

Police cruiser lights flicker at a DUI checkpoint
Young group of people drinking at a house party

What are social host liability laws?

Some states do not reserve dram shop laws for commercial venues only. In some cases, a homeowner or private party host may be held liable for serving alcohol negligently in their own home.

In many cases, social host liability laws focus on the furnishing or serving of alcohol to minors. If a minor is served alcohol by a social host, then gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and causes an accident, state law may hold the social host partially liable for the accident.

What is the difference between first-party and third-party dram shop laws?

Some states have only third-party dram shop laws, while others have first-party and third-party laws.

Third-party laws cover accident victims who were injured by an intoxicated person. First-party laws cover the injuries sustained by the intoxicated person.

For example, suppose an obviously intoxicated person is over-served by a bar and is then injured in an accident caused by their drunkenness. In a state with first-party laws, the bar may be held liable for their injuries. Typically, first-party claims are more difficult to prove than third-party claims.

Bartender serves male customer at bar counter while smiling

Dram Shop Claim Statistics

United States drunk driving statistics

  • Every day, around 37 people in the US are killed in car accidents involving alcohol.
  • In every state except Utah, the legal BAC limit is 0.08. In Utah, it is 0.05.
  • Around one million DUI arrests are made in the United States each year.
  • The estimated cost of crash deaths in accidents involving alcohol is more than $100 billion each year.

Commonly sought damages in drunk driving claims

Every personal injury case is different–the types of damages you may be entitled to will depend on the exact circumstances surrounding your case. Some commonly sought damages in dram shop claims include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Funeral expenses (in the case of wrongful death)

An accident lawyer will be able to help you understand what kind of damages you may seek in your personal injury claim.

Medical bills from the hospital

States without a dram shop act

The only states without dram shop laws of any kind are:

  • Maryland
  • South Dakota
  • Kansas
  • Delaware
  • Nevada
  • Virginia

Why Should I Hire a Dram Shop Attorney?

Dram shop claims can be very difficult to prove–it can be hard to demonstrate that a bartender should have reasonably been able to tell that an individual was overly intoxicated. Additionally, the dram shop’s insurance company will likely do whatever they can to avoid offering you a fair settlement.

A personal injury lawyer with The Advocates will help. We will assist you in compiling evidence, building your case, and negotiating a settlement. With an Advocate on your side, all you need to do is focus on feeling better.

Our legal team will be by your side every step of the way–we are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have. We will keep you updated on the status of your case and provide any assistance you need throughout the entirety of your case.

Contact The Advocates today for a free case evaluation. You deserve an attorney who will fight to protect your best interests. You deserve an Advocate.


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