Jump To Navigation
Drunk Driving Accidents

Dram Shop Acts

If you were injured by a drunk driver after he or she left a bar, restaurant or other place serving alcohol, you may have a claim against that establishment under a dram shop act. Call today to schedule a consultation with an attorney knowledgeable in personal injury actions involving dram shop liability.

Alcohol vendor liability

Dram shop acts impose liability on commercial vendors who provide alcoholic beverages to visibly intoxicated patrons who then injure innocent parties. Those who sell alcohol for a profit owe a duty to those traveling on public roadways to protect them from foreseeable dangers. Given the number of accidents and fatalities caused by drunk drivers each year, it is foreseeable that an intoxicated person leaving a bar could injure someone in a motor vehicle accident.

To maintain an action under a dram shop act, the plaintiff must typically prove:

  • The vendor furnished alcoholic beverages to someone he or she knew or should have known was noticeably intoxicated.
  • The vendor knew or should have known this noticeably intoxicated person was going to drive a motor vehicle after consuming alcoholic beverages.

The plaintiff must be able to prove that the vendor knew or should have known the person was intoxicated. This knowledge can be inferred from circumstantial evidence. The plaintiff does not have to prove the vendor actually witnessed the drunken behavior. Rather, the intoxicated person's conduct must have been "visible, evident and easily observed." This can include slurred speech, erratic body movements and the smell of alcohol on the breath. The patron must be impaired to the point of incapacity. Merely consuming a couple of drinks may not rise to the level of intoxication under the statute.

Additionally, some state laws provide that the beverage must have been an "intoxicating liquor." The definition of intoxicating liquor may require the drink to have included hard alcohol or a certain percentage of alcohol before it will qualify under the act, which may exclude beer.

Eligible parties

Dram shop acts provide relief for persons who suffered injury to themselves, their property or to their means of support — if the breadwinner is no longer able to work, for example. Parties who may bring dram shop suits include innocent parties who were injured, their estate and their families. The families of the intoxicated driver also can bring dram shop claims.

The intoxicated person or his or her estate cannot sue the vendor for damages under dram shop acts.

Contact a drunk driving accident attorney

Call today to schedule a consultation with a lawyer familiar with personal injury actions involving dram shop liability.

Copyright © 2012 FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Return to Main

New Immediate Representation | Tired of Insurance Hassles | We'll represent you right now | Click Here | Call Now Toll Free 1-800-300-8561

- Free Advice!
- Free Consultations!
- No Out of Pocket Fees!
- Contingency Fees!
- We Get Paid Only if We Win Your Case!

Contact Us

NOTE: Labels in bold are required.

Contact Information

  2. disclaimer

What Our Clients Say

Client Testimonial:

"I am impressed the way your firm took care of me, and I am pleased with results. "

KW, Satisfied Client, San Jose, California

"Great Settlement, Thank You."
R.H. - Milpitas, CA

"Mr. Bloxham treated me honestly and fairly - Thanks!"
A.T. - Pittsburg, CA

"I was disappointed in a previous attorney. Thanks for handling my sister's case - I appreciate the care that you took with her."
P.O. - Concord, CA

"Good Job, Thank You."
T.E. - Brentwood, CA

"Thanks for fighting for me, Mr. Bloxham. I appreciate your efforts."
B.K. - Concord, CA

"With my serious injuries, I appreciate that you were able to come to my home and get my case started right away - Thanks."
T.K - Walnut Creek, CA

BBB | Better Business Bureau | www.bbb.org

Click here to see our A+ Rating

Injury Law Center Law Offices of Jack Bloxham
  • Injury Law Center - Walnut Creek
    Law Offices of Jack Bloxham
    2099 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Suite 201
    Walnut Creek, CA 94596

    Walnut Creek Law Office

  • Injury Law Center - San Jose
    Law Offices of Jack Bloxham
    2570 N. First Street
    Second Floor
    San Jose, CA 95131

    San Jose, CA Law Office

  • Injury Law Center - Fremont-Hayward
    Law Offices of Jack Bloxham
    34716 Alvarado-Niles Road
    Union City, CA 94587

    Union City Law Office

  • Injury Law Center - Oakland
    Law Offices of Jack Bloxham
    166 Santa Clara Ave
    Oakland, CA 94610

    Oakland Law Office

Disclosure: Photos may not depict cars, places or situations related to clients or cases. Other photos may not depict attorneys or clients of the firm. The photos are intended only as dramatizations. Testimonials or endorsements, or statements regarding the outcome of a case should not be construed as a guarantee or warrantee or prediction regarding the result or outcome of your or anyone’s legal matter. Each case has its own unique facts, and the outcome of each case will differ.

San Jose personal injury attorney Jack Bloxham represents clients in negligence and wrongful death litigation related to motor vehicle accidents of all kinds in the Greater Bay Area of Northern California, including Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Santa Clara County, Solano County, San Jose, Walnut Creek, Union City, Oakland, San Francisco, Fremont, Hayward, Pittsburg, Richmond, Dublin, Concord, Fairfield, Benicia, Vallejo, Los Gatos, Napa, Pleasanton, Livermore, Antioch, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo.