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Dram shop laws help victims of DUI-related accidents seek relief

Every year, numerous Rhode Island residents suffer injuries or lose loved ones in DUI-related auto accidents. If you are one of the unlucky few negatively affected by such an incident, you may seek relief for your losses by filing legal claims against the driver responsible. Did you know you also may have the ability to file legal claims against the establishment or party host who served alcohol to the responsible party?

Many people are not aware that this is an option. Dram shop laws make this possible. Certain elements must exist in your case in order to pursue a dram shop claim.

Dram shop basics

Dram shop laws apply to all businesses that serve or sell alcohol. If a bartender, store clerk, wait staff or any other employee of one of these establishments sells alcohol to a minor or serves someone who is obviously intoxicated, he or she may be responsible for damages a patron does when he or she leaves the premises. Social host liability laws fall under dram shop laws. Hosts who serve alcohol at private functions may also be responsible if their guests leave intoxicated and cause auto collisions.

If you wish to use dram shop laws in order to seek compensation for your losses, as previously stated, certain elements must exist in your case. The basic elements to meet are:

  • Proof of alcohol purchase 
  • Proof that purchase resulted in driver intoxication
  • Proof of being over-served at an establishment
  • Proof of injury or other loss due to driver intoxication

Obtaining the required evidence to establish that these elements exist in your particular case can take time and a bit of detective work. Legal counsel will know what questions to ask and where to look to get this information.

Dram shop laws are not applicable in every case

If one of the above elements is missing in your case, you may not pursue a dram shop claim. If the individual who caused the accident became intoxicated in the privacy of his or her own home, dram shop laws will not apply in your case.

Dram shop claims are difficult to win, but they can be worth pursuing, as a successful claim can result in you receiving additional compensation for your losses outside of what you may achieve, by taking legal action against the party responsible for your losses. This compensation can go a long way in helping you move forward.

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