Indiana is among the several states that has a Dram Shop liability statute, which can act to impose civil liability on establishments that serve alcohol to patrons who later leave the establishment and cause a serious accident. Most commonly, Dram Shop cases involve a patron who leaves the establishment and causes an Indiana drunk driving accident; however, the Dram Shop statute is not limited to drunk driving accidents.
Under the Indiana Dram Shop statute, an establishment may be held liable for any injury caused by a patron who was served by the establishment. In order to establish liability, the injured party must prove that the establishment knew the patron was intoxicated when they were served, and also the patron’s intoxication was a proximate cause of the accident. A recent case out of Florida illustrates how courts apply Dram Shop statutes to impose liability on establishments that over-serve alcohol.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was the surviving husband of a woman who was killed in a drunk driving accident. The driver who caused the accident had just left a golf course, where he played a round while consuming several alcoholic drinks.
Florida’s Dram Shop statute is slightly different from Indiana’s and requires the plaintiff to show that the establishment served a patron with knowledge that he was addicted to alcohol. Thus, the plaintiff’s case hinged on whether the golf course served the driver with knowledge of his addiction to alcohol. In support of his claim, the plaintiff had several golf course employees testify. Their cumulative testimony showed that the driver had been golfing at the course 70 or 80 times over the past few years, and he always drank heavily while on the course. In fact, employees knew the driver’s preferred drink, when he would order drinks, and how many drinks he had on an average visit.
The court determined that the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to send the case to a jury for the resolution of his claim. The court explained that the employees of the golf course had enough knowledge of the driver’s alcohol consumption habits that a jury may find the employees were aware of his alcohol addiction. As a result, the plaintiff’s case was permitted to proceed toward trial or settlement negotiations.
Have You Been a Victim of an Indiana Drunk Driving Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an Indiana drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated and knowledgeable Indiana personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse have extensive experience handling Indiana drunk driving cases and other Indiana car accident cases. Call 888-532-7766 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney today. The initial consultation is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Case Claiming Toxic Exposure to MDI Dismissed for Failure to Retain Expert on Causation, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, July 6, 2017
How Indiana’s Dram Shop Law Can Help Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, August 8, 2017