Thousands of people die on Pennsylvania and national highways every year resulting from alcohol-related accidents. As a matter of fact, a 2006 NHTSA study statistically recognized that someone dies in an alcohol-related car accident approximately every 30 minutes. Each one of these tragic deaths was easily preventable. Sadly, many of these deaths or catastrophic injuries occur during holidays which should be a time of enjoyment, not resulting in emergency room trips or fatality. Approximately 20 years ago, I lost my dearest friend as a result of a drunk driving accident and have ever since been committed to representing the rights of catastrophically injured individuals and those killed by the irresponsible drunk driver, as well as those whose actions caused the person to become intoxicated beyond the legal limit.
What is Dram Shop Liability Law in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, people who are harmed by drunk drivers may file lawsuits against irresponsible and reckless bar owners, as well as the intoxicated drinker. An intoxicated person who causes a catastrophic accident or fatality while operating a motor vehicle, as well as the business person, establishment, or social host who gave alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person or minor is legally responsible for any damage that that person may cause.
The Pennsylvania Dram Shop and alcohol-related injury lawyers at the car accident law firm of Reiff & Bily have fought against drunk driving and the resulting catastrophic injuries and fatalities since 1979.
Pennsylvania statute 47 P.S. 493 states in part that “it shall be unlawful” for bars to serve persons who are visibly intoxicated. This means that if a bar serves a drunk and he or she is injured, the bar is responsible.
We find that many bar owners, restaurant owners, as well as social hosts act in an irresponsible way by serving people beyond the point of legal intoxication limit who then go out and cause accidents. These bar owners are more interested in making a quick buck on a drink than calling a cab for a drunk customer. They insist on placing profitability over the greater need for public health and safety.
Although there are many training programs for restaurant owners and bar owners concerning alcohol awareness, we have found that many bar and restaurant owners do not want to spend the money to send their employees to these programs and many times we find that bartenders are more interested in bigger tips than doing the responsible thing by refusing to serve the intoxicated patron. Bar owners and social hosts must act responsibly because they are selling dangerous substances that pose a risk to their customers and others on the roads.
It is important that the people who irresponsibly sell alcohol to an individual that is intoxicated be held financially responsible for the resulting injuries and fatalities. Pennsylvania law is clear that it is illegal to sell alcohol to either a minor or a person who is obviously intoxicated.
Our Attorneys Can Help
The Dram Shop and Philadelphia car accident attorneys at the law firm of Reiff & Bily have the knowledge, personal experience, and commitment necessary to investigate drunk driving accidents and hold the owners of bars, restaurants, hotels and social hosts responsible for injuries or deaths caused by a drunk driver.
If you or a loved one has been killed or injured as a result of a drunk driving accident or any other alcohol-related injury caused by the negligence of an irresponsible party, please contact one of our experienced Dram Shop liability attorneys at Reiff & Bily for a free evaluation of your case.