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Columbus Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Car Accident > Can You Hold a Bar, Club, or Restaurant Liable After a Drunk Driving Accident?

Can You Hold a Bar, Club, or Restaurant Liable After a Drunk Driving Accident?


Drunk driving accidents are among the most devastating types of accidents. If a drunk driving accident does not result in death, there is a high chance it will result in severe injuries. Drunk driving accidents can result in huge physical, emotional, and financial burdens. After a drunk driving accident, it is natural for the injured party or the deceased individual’s surviving loved ones to ask questions about accountability. While the drunk driver bears primary responsibility for the accident, can the bar or club that served them alcohol also be held responsible? Under Ohio’s dram shop laws, it may be possible to hold a bar or club liable after a drunk driving accident. Read on to learn about Ohio’s dram shop laws and when you might be able to recover compensation from a bar or club.

What Are Dram Shop Laws?

Dram shop laws hold alcohol vendors accountable for injuries or damages caused by people who have consumed alcohol on their premises under certain circumstances. Dram shop laws address situations where a drunk individual causes harm to another person through actions like drunk driving or violent behavior. The specifics of these laws vary from state to state, meaning that the dram shop laws in one state might not apply in another. Like other states, Ohio has its own unique set of rules governing the liability of alcohol vendors.

Understanding Ohio’s Dram Shop Laws

Ohio’s dram shop laws are codified under Ohio Revised Code Section 4399.18. The law states that a person who is injured because of the actions of an intoxicated individual does not have a legal cause of action against anyone with a liquor permit holder or employee of a liquor permit holder who sold the intoxicated individual alcohol. According to Ohio Revised Code Section 4399.18, an individual can only file a claim against an alcohol vendor if they can prove the following;

  1. The vendor sold alcohol to a noticeably intoxicated person; or
  2. The vendor knowingly sold alcohol to an underage person; and
  3. The intoxication proximately caused the harm

Under the law, you are required to prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. This entails showing that there is a greater than 50% chance that your claim is true.

While you may have the right to file a legal claim against the bar or club that sold alcohol to the drunk driver who hit you or your loved one, it is crucial to note that holding an alcohol vendor liable is not always straightforward. For instance, it can be challenging to prove that the drunk driver was noticeably intoxicated at the time of service. When dealing with a dram shop case, it is crucial to hire a qualified attorney. An attorney experienced in handling such cases can offer you legal guidance. A skilled attorney can investigate your case and determine all liable parties. They can ensure you have a solid case that allows you to seek maximum compensation.

Contact a Columbus Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been involved in a drunk driving accident, contact a skilled Columbus car accident attorney at the law firm of Brian G. Miller CO., L.P.A., for legal guidance.

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