A dram shop is an old-school term for a place where alcohol is sold. It could be a bar or a restaurant. Depending on state and local laws, it might also mean a store that, while in some other business, also sells alcohol. Nowadays, that could include a convenience store, chain pharmacy, grocery market, or big box store. If you own and operate a dram shop, you have to comply with regulations and codes.
What presents a risk to dram shop owners?
Even when you operate to code, traffic in alcohol presents potential financial problems. So, you are smart to initiate some best practices to fend off liability claims.
When you sell or offer drink to customers, they present a risk to property, people, and themselves. That’s why there is a Dram Shop Rule, “A law that makes a business that sells alcoholic drinks or a host who serves liquor to an obviously intoxicated person strictly liable to anyone injured by the drunken patron or guest.”
Individual states and regulatory authorities have their financial penalties for violation of the rule. But, paying that penalty does not relieve you from liability for damages done.
The point is that the dram shop is control of a potentially harmful substance. So, as provider, the shop is partially responsible for the effects of its abuse.
What options can the dram shop explore?
Plaintiffs must show that there were reasons that the business is at fault. For example, they might have to prove that the bartender willfully violated the rule or that the defendant was obviously inebriated at the time of the service. And, they have to demonstrate how the alcohol led directly to the unfortunate outcome.
Finally, dram shop owners value the advice, support, and defense by a law firm with dram shop liability claims experience. Houston-based attorneys are one example of an experienced firm that focuses solely on issues related to liquor law. Such firms work with owners from the preparation of the their first business plan to licensing and taxation to defense against criminal or civil charges. Good liquor law attorneys partner in your business performance and manage what presents a risk to dram show owners.
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