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Dram Shop Liability in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law allows an injury victim to pursue damages from other people or entities pursuant to the Pennsylvania Dram Shop Law. If a driver is intoxicated and causes a motor vehicle accident with injuries, the victim will likely have a valid personal injury claim against that driver. If the injuries are severe or fatal, there might not be sufficient insurance policy limits to cover the damages.

The term “dram shop” generally describes a commercial establishment that’s engaged in the sale of alcoholic beverages. Not only does the statute contemplate bars, but it also includes services like catering businesses that provide alcoholic beverages at events.

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Pennsylvania’s dram shop statute is found in Pennsylvania Liquor Code at section 4-497. The law provides that the seller of alcoholic beverages may be held liable for injuries or deaths that were caused by “visibly intoxicated” or underage customers if the seller sold or furnished alcoholic beverages to those people. The legal age for the consumption of alcoholic beverages in Pennsylvania is 21 years old. The statute also includes people who are “insane,” “habitual drunkards” or people of “known untempered habits.” Common scenarios for dram shop actions are auto accidents, damage to other property as a result of intoxication, and batteries after leaving a bar.

An Employer Can Be Sued With The Pennsylvania Dram Shop Statute?

The general rule in Pennsylvania is that those who serve alcoholic beverages at a private party who is not acting as part of a business that sells such beverages cannot be sued under Pennsylvania’s dram shop laws. That’s a big reason why many people and businesses have private events at licensed commercial establishments. Any dram shop liability would likely be attributable to the commercial establishment rather than a host, business or employer.

In serious injury cases involving the use of injury as a cause of the circumstances at hand, it’s highly likely that damages may exceed the policy limit of the allegedly intoxicated driver. Given the fact that Pennsylvania’s dram shop law recognizes a chain of responsibility for intoxicated persons, entities that provided intoxicating beverages to the allegedly drunken driver might be held liable for the victims’ injuries and deaths.

If you were the victim of a drunk driver, or if a family member was killed, then contact Luvara Law Group LLC at your earliest convenience to arrange for a free consultation. We Listen. Then we can explain to you your legal alternatives.