When a drunk driver causes injury to another person, it’s understood that the victim can hold the driver liable for damages. However, in some states, the injured person can also hold the establishment responsible for overserving the driver. These laws are known as Michigan dram shop laws. Michigan is one of several states nationwide that observe this law.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, schedule a free consultation with a Michigan dram shop lawyer by calling (248) 557-1688 today.
What Are Dram Shop Laws?
Dram shop laws are state laws that can hold other entities potentially responsible for damages caused by a visibly intoxicated person. The term “dram” comes from the unit of measure that bars once used when serving patrons alcohol back. A dram serving is less than a typical shot of liquor.
States that have dram shop laws can hold bars and restaurants liable if a person they served alcohol to ends up getting into an accident and causing harm or injury to another person, even if the accident happened off-site.
What Is a Dram Shop?
A dram shop is a bar or commercial establishment that serves alcoholic beverages. Dram shops also include restaurants and taverns.
What Is Michigan’s Dram Shop Law?
Under Michigan Compiled Laws section 436.1801, an alcohol vendor can be liable for an alcohol-related accident if the vendor continues serving a visibly intoxicated person and that person is involved in an accident causing damages and/or injuries.
The Michigan dram shop law does not automatically hold the vendor liable. For the vendor to be held legally responsible, they must have provided alcohol to someone either under 21 or someone visibly intoxicated.
What Is the Michigan Social Host Liability Law?
Michigan’s dram shop law only applies to vendors that serve alcohol and not a social host. So, say a person gets drunk at the home of a family member or friend. If they’re involved in an accident that causes injury or damages to another person, they cannot pursue a claim against them under Michigan’s dram shop law.
If the drunk person who caused injuries or damages was a minor and was served alcohol at a friend or family member’s home, the accident victim could pursue a social host liability claim. The only way that a social host can have legal liability is if they served a minor.
What Are the Elements of a Social Host Liability Claim?
For a successful claim, the social host liability plaintiff must prove:
- They suffered personal injury.
- The injury was caused by a minor.
- A social host served the minor alcohol and did so, knowing they were underage or failed to inquire about their age.
- The personal injury suffered directly related to the alcohol the minor was served.
Do Dram Shop Laws Michigan Have a Notice Requirement?
Anyone pursuing a dram shop claim must notify the defendant within 120 days of entering into an attorney-client relationship. If the defendant is not informed about the claim, this failure to notify can result in dismissal.
Can a Bar or Bartender Be Held Liable for Drunk Drivers?
A bar and/or bartender can be liable in a dram shop claim. The establishment and bartender should protect others from drunk drivers and should not serve alcohol to anyone visibly intoxicated or underage.
Can a Bar or Bartender Be Held Liable for Serving Alcohol to a Minor?
Yes, the bar and/or bartender can be legally responsible for serving alcohol to a minor. If the minor is involved in an accident causing injuries and damages, victims can pursue legal action against the minor and the establishment that served them.
Can a Bar or Bartender Be Held Liable for Serving a Visibly Intoxicated Person?
The bartender and/or bar can be liable for serving a visibly intoxicated person. If the visibly intoxicated person causes an accident, the injured person can pursue a lawsuit against the driver and establishment.
For a successful dram shop claim, there must be proof that the individual was noticeably intoxicated. This evidence can be proven through surveillance videos and receipts of alcohol purchases.
What Are Potential Damages in Dram Shop Lawsuits?
As with most personal injury claims, damages from dram shop claims are provided to compensate victims for injuries and other damages sustained by the accident. The personal injury attorneys from Lipton Law will work to recover the following damages from your dram shop claim.
- Lost wages if you missed work due to your injuries
- Medical expenses, both past and future
- Physical therapy bills
- Property damage
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Dram Shop Lawsuit in Michigan?
The statute of limitations for filing a dram shop claim is two years from the accident date. This timeline is important to note. Generally, car accident lawsuits have a three-year statute of limitations in Michigan.
While two years may seem like a long time to file a lawsuit, it’s critical that you contact experienced personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. The sooner you contact Lipton Law, the sooner your personal injury lawyer can begin working on your dram shop claim.
Contact a Michigan Premises Liability Lawyer at Lipton Law
Restaurants, bars, and other establishments serving alcohol should protect others from drunk drivers. If they serve alcohol to minors or individuals who are visibly intoxicated, the injured party could have a potential legal claim against both the driver and the establishment.
If you or a loved one were involved in a drunk driving accident, the Michigan premise liability attorneys at Lipton Law are ready to help. To schedule a free consultation with a Michigan dram shop lawyer at Lipton Law, call (248) 557-1688 today.