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Can you hold a bar responsible for overserving alcohol?

On Behalf of Palacios Law Group

Going to bars is a way for many Americans to socialize and meet others. However, there are risks associated with all activities that center around drinking alcohol. Because drinking lowers inhibitions and motor skills, intoxicated people are more likely to hurt themselves or someone else, whether by getting into a fight, falling down a flight of stairs, or something else.

Due to having lowered inhibitions, it is difficult for some people to stop drinking once they have already started. While adults should take some degree of personal responsibility, is it ever possible to hold a New York bar accountable for overserving alcohol?

1. Dram Shop Act

The short answer to this question is yes, due to the Dram Shop Act in New York State. Under this law, a person can hold a bar liable if they continue to serve a patron who acts intoxicated and that patron goes on to commit personal or property crimes while under the influence.

2. Complications

With all the good intentions of this law, it comes with some complications. One of these involves the detail that a person needs to be visibly under the influence for the bar to be at fault. However, since intoxication manifests differently in different people, a bar may unknowingly serve someone whose blood alcohol content is above the legal limit. In these cases, the establishment would likely not be accountable for the customer’s actions.

Knowing the circumstances where you can hold a bar responsible for overserving can help you acquire compensation for personal injuries.

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