Dram Shop Cases- Who Is Responsible?

A Dram Shop case involves an injured victim suing a bar for $ damages because the person was served alcohol when he displayed visible signs of intoxication. The classic example of this of course is a bartender continuing to pour drinks to a customer with slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and walking imbalance.

Tragically what often happens is that the overserved customer then leaves the bar, get in his car and kills someone on the highway.

In that situation people can understand why the bar should be legally responsible for the tragic death of another.

Why? Because the victim was completely innocent.

BUT what about the situation where a person drinks for several hours at a bar and then falls off the barstool and is injured?

No one else is injured but the drunk. Is the bar still responsible in that situation?

That situation is quite different than a person killing someone ELSE on the highway when he is overserved by the bar.

In the second situation the person who is hurt is the one who voluntarily drank so much alcohol that he couldn’t stay on his bar stool.

In that situation, should the drunk be able to recover $ against the bar?

Pittsburgh dramshop and bar liability attorney Bernie Tully thinks the general public would be much less inclined to give the drunk any money at all. People have a responsibility to drink sensibly as much as the bar does in serving alcohol in a reasonable manner.

The article below deals with this very issue. Is the injured patron who voluntarily drank to the point of stupor also responsible for his injuries? Or is it entirely the bars responsibility not to over serve a customer?

Review the Tribune Review article below and decide for yourself.

“A man is suing a western Pennsylvania bar claiming he was served so much liquor he fell off a bar stool and hurt his shoulder.

A woman who answered the phone Tuesday at Ziggy’s Hotel in Youngwood declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The Tribune-Review first reported it was filed last week in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court on behalf of 57-year-old David Waugaman.

Waugaman’s attorney contends his client was visibly intoxicated during his four-hour visit to the bar on June 24, but the staff kept serving him. Waugaman hurt his right shoulder in the fall, which required surgery. He’s seeking more than $30,000 in medical expenses, pain, suffering and other damages.

The attorney claims “You’re not supposed to feed people so much booze they fall off a bar stool.”

Your attorney friend

Bernie Tully