Drunk Driving & Georgia’s Dram Shop Laws

Drunk driving is still a serious problem facing motorists every day. A fatality resulting from an individual driving under the influence of alcohol traumatizes families and communities on a regular basis. Sadly, every DUI crash is preventable if another party has the opportunity (and takes it!) to intervene before the intoxicated person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle. As a result, Georgia law recognizes that certain business owners have a duty to take action to prevent drinking and driving. These laws are often referred to as “dram shop” laws and they impose liability for wrongful death claims in certain cases. If applicable, dram shop laws allow the victim to bring a civil action against the server and the owner of the bar.

Georgia’s dram shop laws are most commonly applied to the following parties:

· Bars and night clubs

· Restaurants

· Convenience stores

· Liquor stores

· Grocery stores

· Concerts

· Sports venues

· Waiters and other alcohol servers

· Party hosts

A drunk driver who causes an accident is primarily liable for any injuries or deaths that result. Georgia’s dram shop laws provide that a licensed establishment can also be held responsible for serving or selling alcohol to consumers who cause injury (or even death) as result of their intoxication. For example, if a proprietor serves or sells alcohol to a customer who is obviously intoxicated and the customer drives and causes an accident, the proprietor may incur liability. Another common example of dram shop liability occurs when a business owner knowingly and illegally serves alcohol to a person who is driving under the age of 21 years.

It is important to note that if an individual consumes alcohol without the permission or knowledge of the property owner, dram shop liability is inapplicable if the premises at issue is not licensed for the sale of alcohol. Additionally, proprietors are not held liable if an underage drink provides a fake ID showing he or she is at least 21 years at the time the alcohol is sold or served.

To learn more about dram shop laws or how we can assist you with a personal injury claim, call an experienced personal injury lawyer at Murphy & Garner in Bremen, Georgia. We offer free consultations and dedicated representation based on over 32 years of service to car accident victims in western Georgia and eastern Alabama.

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