What Do I Need to Know About DRAM Shop Laws in Pennsylvania?

close up of beer being poured from bottle into glass
March 11, 2020

It is against the law for anyone to drive under the influence. This is because it poses a very serious threat not only to the driver’s safety but that of others on the road as well. It is because of this that they can be held liable for an accident they cause due to this behavior. However, they may not be the only party responsible for the accident. If the driver was served alcohol at an establishment or social event before it happened, the party who served them may be held liable as well. This is possible through PA’s dram shop and social host laws. If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, it is important to retain the services of an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney who can recover the compensation you deserve.

DRAM Shop Laws in Pennsylvania

Dram shop laws in Pennsylvania exist to protect the victims of drunk driving accidents by holding establishments responsible for serving a visibly intoxicated driver who goes on to cause an accident. Places with a liquor license, such as bars, restaurants, etc., are required to notice signs of intoxication so that they can stop serving. Signs to look out for can include slurred speech, incoherent speech, stumbling, glassy or bloodshot eyes, difficulty finishing sentences, falling, impaired fine-motor skills, and more.

In the event that an establishment continues to serve the driver, they can be held liable for any accidents, injuries, or deaths they cause as a result. PA dram shop laws can be applied in the following situations:

  • An employee of an establishment served alcohol to a person who was visibly intoxicated
  • The decision to serve the intoxicated customer directly caused injuries and damages

PA Social Host Laws

It is important to understand that laws are not only in place for establishments, but hosts as well. Social host laws exist to hold hosts of social events liable if a minor consumes alcohol and goes on to cause a car accident. These laws are in place even if the host does not know that minors were consuming alcohol at their event. They can be applied in the following situations:

  • If a minor consumes alcohol at your party and is injured or killed in an accident
  • If a minor consumes alcohol at your party and injures or kills someone else

How Long Do I Have to Sue?

Injured parties are required to file their claim within the statute of limitations, or they may lose their opportunity to pursue legal action. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for DRAM shop lawsuits is two years from the date of the injury or death. An exception to this rule is if it is being filed against a municipal, county, or Commonwealth government entity or employee. In these situations, a Notice of Claim must be filed within six months of the injury or death.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm

If you or a loved one has been in a personal injury accident in Pennsylvania, it’s important that you contact an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney to help you with your case and to make sure that you are not taken advantage of. Contact Spear Greenfield to get the right attorney in your corner.