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California Dram Shop Laws

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Dram shops refer to bars, liquor stores or other establishments that sell or serve alcoholic beverages. Dram shop laws concern the liability of establishments providing alcohol to an intoxicated person or minor who ends up injuring or killing a third party in an alcohol-related accident. For example, if a bar serves alcohol to an obviously drunk person, who later drives and hits someone, can the injured party sue the bartender?

In California, the law significantly limits the liability of people and businesses who serve or sell alcohol. You would not be able to sue the bartender who served alcohol to the person that injured you. The California Business and Professions Code Section 25602 states that bars are not responsible for selling alcohol to patrons who are obviously intoxicated.

The exception is if a vendor serves alcohol to an intoxicated minor who injures or kills someone else. The vendor could be accountable for the minor’s actions. Dram shop liability would apply and the injured person would be able to sue the vendor. The injured party could recover damages to pay for medical expenses lost wages, pain and suffering, and other significant losses.

Dram shop claims have a statute of limitations that restrict the amount of time you must file a case and seek compensation. In California, Dram shop claims must be filed within two years of the injury date. California enacted these laws because it is difficult to prove the actual cause of injury.

If you were seriously injured by a drunk driver, call Kershaw, Cook & Talley for a free case consultation at 888-997-5170.

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