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Can Bartenders Be Held Liable for Drunk Driving Crashes?


Louisiana is a special place, full of personality and uniqueness. We have the tallest state capitol building in the country and the longest bridge over water in the world. We are the only state in the union with parishes instead of counties and are the home of drive-thru daiquiri huts (of course, the debate over straw placement and open-container laws continue). The Pelican State is also the only one to exempt licensed establishments from liability for selling or serving alcohol to individuals who cause injuries or death as a result of their intoxication, except when they serve a person under the legal drinking age. (To be fair, Nevada and South Dakota also exempt licensed establishments from liability, though they do so without exception).

The majority of states have statutory provisions that allow licensed establishments such as restaurants, bars, and liquor stores, to be held liable, through their employees, for the damage caused by inebriated patrons. These are commonly referred to as “dram shop laws,” the word “dram” having been a measurement used for selling alcohol in Victorian England. Dram shop liability laws have been shown to reduce alcohol-related crashes, increase publicity of the impacts of over-serving, and decrease excessive and illegal consumption. The cause of action instituted by such laws against an over-serving establishment is also widely viewed as not replacing personal responsibility. Rather, both establishments and drivers incur punitive damages, ideally causing them to rethink their practices.

Louisiana’s anti-dram shop law was enacted in 1986 and declares that “the consumption of intoxicating beverages, rather than the sale or serving or furnishing of such beverages, is the proximate cause of any injury, including death and property damage, inflicted by an intoxicated person upon himself or upon another person.” Exceptions to the law are limited. Businesses that supply alcohol will generally be liable only if they serve someone who is underage, force someone to consume alcohol or misrepresent that a drink is non-alcoholic. These narrow exceptions can make it difficult to hold a bartender civilly responsible for any harm caused by an intoxicated person. Regardless, if you are injured in a car wreck, it is essential to retain qualified counsel to assist you. An attorney can analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your evidence and tailor a case within the specifics of Louisiana law.

Contact Us for free Consultation Our Alexandria, LA Personal Injury Lawyers At Chris J. Roy, Jr. APLC.

The Louisiana drunk driver accident attorney Chris J. Roy, the founder of the Chris J. Roy, Jr. Law Firm, understands that life after an accident can be overwhelming. He seeks to ease the financial, mental, and physical burden that the litigation process can add by consistently communicating with you, as well as handling the complicated details so you can focus on your recovery. While the firm is large enough to supply the necessary resources to handle any type of personal injury, it is also small enough to provide the individual attention that your case deserves. Having practiced law for nearly 30 years, he takes pride in helping accident victims in Alexandria, Pineville, Rapides Parish, Grant Parish, Avoyelles Parish, Allen Parish, Vernon Parish, and throughout Central Louisiana. For help with your legal claim, contact the firm for a free initial consultation by calling 1-318-487-9537.

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