Dram shops were establishments that sold gin in 18th century England. Although the term is dated, there are dram shop laws that make a business or person liable if they provide alcohol to someone who was clearly intoxicated. This law may sound shocking, but an injured plaintiff (victim) can sue the bar, alcohol retailer, or citizen who served a defendant (perpetrator) an alcoholic beverage. 

Continue reading to learn more about these interesting dram shop laws. 

Information on Dram Shop Liability

Dram shop liability refers to the civil liability that a car accident victim can impose against a bar or tavern for providing a drunk driver with alcohol. Surprisingly, this type of liability can also be extended to restaurants that sell alcohol. These laws are implemented at the state level, so each state decides how much or little it wants the establishment to be held liable for the actions of a drunk driver. 

Below are frequently asked questions regarding dram shop liability. 

Q: Does Utah Have Dram Shop Laws?

A: In Utah, under certain situations, the injured victim may file a lawsuit against the business or person who provided the defendant with alcohol. When a case involves an alcohol vendor, it’s known as a dram shop claim. On the other hand, if it includes a social host who provides alcohol to a minor, it’s known as a social host liability claim. 

Section 32B-15-201 of Utah’s penal code states an alcohol vendor is liable for injuries and damages suffered by a victim in an alcohol-related accident if they “give, sell, or otherwise provide an alcoholic product” to someone who is:

  • Under age 21
  • Already under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • “A known interdicted person” (someone who has been ordered by a court not to consume alcohol)
  • A person who receives alcohol and causes an accident due to ingesting it

Q: What is the Purpose of Dram Shop Liability?

A: Since alcohol consumption can inhibit a person’s judgment, a drunk driver who causes a collision may be driving faster than a driver who isn’t impaired. Furthermore, the limits on an insurance policy might not be sufficient to fully compensate victims for their injuries.  

Q: How can I prove liability in a dram shop case?

A: It can be challenging to prove that a business or social host is at fault under dram shop laws because everyone has different tolerance levels. For example, a bartender may not be aware that a patron is drinking on an empty stomach or may think the patron is walking home.

Generally, to recover damages, the plaintiff must prove that the vendor should have known the defendant was so drunk, that more alcohol would increase the risk of danger to the patron and others with whom they come into contact.

Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton Can Help

Dram shop claims are only available to third-party individuals who have been injured due to the provision of alcohol to a customer. An experienced dram shop liability attorney from Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton can prove that an establishment or person acted negligently, resulting in the DUI accident that caused your injuries. 

Our team has the qualifications and resources necessary to handle your case. We have offices throughout Utah County and West Jordan. Schedule your free case evaluation today