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Indiana's Bar & Dram Shop Laws

Steve Wagner

In the United States, someone is injured every two minutes and killed every fifty-two minutes in a drunk driving accident. As the holidays and holiday parties approach, it is important for both hosts and revelers to consider the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. For hosts, over-serving an already visibly drunk person can potentially have significant legal implications.

When an intoxicated person injures someone, even himself or herself, he or she may not be the only person responsible for the injury. Dependent on the state in which the injury occurs, the third party who provided the alcohol may also be partly liable. These “dram shop” laws, named after the historical unit of liquid measurement in which alcohol was sold (the dram), vary from state to state but may help provide relief for injuries or loss of life caused by drunk driving accidents or other incidents in which alcohol is involved.

In Indiana’s Dram Shop law, the liability for an injury caused by an intoxicated individual may be extended to:

  • third parties who
  • had “actual knowledge” of the individual’s intoxication at the time he or she “furnished” the alcohol, and
  • if an injury was a “proximate” or foreseeable result of the intoxication.

The third party may be a commercial or “social host,” which means that a quiet dinner party in someone’s home could result in liability for the party host just as a wild party at a bar might result in liability for the bartender. “Actual knowledge” often refers to visible indicators of intoxication, but also inferable evidence such as the knowledge of how much the individual has consumed. “Furnishing” alcohol can refer to bartering, delivering, selling, exchanging, providing, or giving away alcoholic beverages.

As you can see, there is broad risk involved with the provision of alcohol. Though it does not absolve the individual of their personal responsibility for making good choices, someone who has been over-served and faced a related injury, as well as those who have been injured as a result of someone being over-served may have a case against the person who provided the alcohol.

If you were injured as a result of being over-served or of someone else being over-served, the matter could be investigated via more direct evidence such as police reports, blood alcohol test results, or interviews of witnesses; however, other, perhaps less obvious, support for your claim might include security camera videos, cell phone records, receipts of purchase or credit card records, and social media posts.

Were you injured as a result of someone being over-served alcohol?

If you have been injured or a loved one has lost their life due to someone being over-served alcohol, Wagner Reese may be able to help you focus on healing and recovery. Our experienced vehicular accident and personal injury attorneys will provide extensive experience and knowledge to the pursuit of your case, so you can focus on the really important things that will help you find peace of mind and body. Please call our offices at (888) 204-8440 for a FREE consultation today, and let’s discuss how we can put you on the path toward receiving the compensation you deserve.

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