As Indianapolis personal injury lawyers, we were interested to see that this year’s state fair will be serving beer and wine for the first time in almost 70 years, according to the Associated Press. One reason the state fair may not have wanted to serve alcohol in the past was because of what are sometimes called dram shop laws – the laws a business has to abide by when serving alcohol. Serving alcohol can open a business to the possibility of civil and criminal liability.
Traditionally, those serving alcohol were not responsible for injury caused by the customer to third parties. However, as alcohol-related dangers increased, largely due to cars becoming ubiquitous, the number of laws and court cases imposing liability on those who sell alcohol have increased.
Indiana law does two significant things:
- Makes it against the law to sell to someone who is intoxicated, if the seller knows the person is intoxicated.
- Creates civil liability (meaning the person can be sued) for doing so, if the intoxication is the proximate cause of injury to a third party. Proximate cause is a complex legal concept, but it centers on whether the person being sued could have foreseen the injury that was caused by their actions.
We always hope that no injuries will occur as a result of a decision to serve alcohol – by the state fair or any other entity or business. However, occasional accidents are bound to happen. If you or a loved one is hurt by a drunk driver, you may want to consider the remedies provided by dram shop laws. They can be especially useful in cases where the intoxicated person does not have many assets with which to cover your injuries and expenses. If you can’t recover successfully from the person who directly caused your injuries, you may still be able to recover from the business that served her alcohol.
Hurt by a drunk driver?
Injured in an accident? Make sure you consider all of your options; contact us and we can discuss your case and whether liability can be extended to parties not directly involved in your accident.