What are New York’s dram shop laws?


A “dram shop” is an old term for a bar or tavern. The Dram Shop Act, also known as New York General Obligations Law §11-101, makes it illegal for bars and restaurants to over serve customers. If any establishment over serves a customer, it may be liable if that customer then causes an accident due to their intoxication.

Victims of drunk driving accidents may be able to sue both the driver and the bar where the driver was drinking to recover compensation under New York dram shop laws. A car accident lawyer at Goldstein & Bashner can help you explore your options for liability if you were in an accident caused by a drunk driver. Call 516-874-4362 for legal help.

When is another party liable for a drunk driver’s actions?

A third party may liable for the driver’s actions in several cases, such as:

  • A bar or restaurant served an obviously intoxicated person.
  • A party served alcohol to a minor under the age of 21.

To hold the party liable, your claim must establish that the third party broke the Dram Shop Law. Establishments may argue that a patron was not obviously intoxicated at the time the bar or restaurant served them alcohol. You will need evidence to refute this defense, which we help you procure via eyewitness testimony and other means.

What can I recover from a dram shop case?

Victims of drunk driving accidents can recover their economic damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Noneconomic damages like pain and suffering may also be recoverable. Our case building efforts will not only focus on proving the third-party establishment’s liability for over serving a patron, but on proving the value of all of your damages via medical records, expert testimony, wage records, and more.

Keep in mind that victims of drunk driving accidents also have a right to pursue compensation from the drunk driver. But in many cases, the drunk driver may not have the insurance coverage or assets to fully cover your damages. Filing a dram shop case against a liable bar or restaurant may help recover compensation that more fully covers all damages.

Who can bring a claim against the bar?

Anyone injured by a drunk driver and who can prove that an establishment holds liability for over serving the driver may be able to bring a claim against the establishment. If the drunk driver killed another person, the surviving family members may be able to bring a claim against the drunk driver and establishment as well.

To speak with an attorney about your dram shop case or any other car accident case, contact Goldstein & Bashner on Long Island at 516-874-4362.

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