Dram Shop Cases

Dram Shop Laws: Liquor Liability in New Jersey

Have you or someone you loved been injured at the hand of an intoxicated individual? Injuries and accidents often occur as the result of alcohol consumption or other impairments. In New Jersey, dram shop laws exist to hold establishments that serve alcohol responsible for the injuries that result from negligent service of alcohol beverages.

These cases can be difficult, therefore it is important to find trusted attorneys to help you understand how to seek additional compensation for your physical or financial damages due to an accident or incident involving a person who is under the influence of alcohol.

What is Liquor Liability?

Liquor liability is a law that potentially allows persons injured by an intoxicated individual to seek compensation not only from the individual, but also from an establishment if the establishment served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated individual.

The Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Fair Liability Act (N.J.S.A 2A:22A-5) states that a person who sustains personal injury or property damage as a result of the negligent service of alcoholic beverages by a licensed alcoholic beverage server may recover damages from that licensed alcoholic beverage server only if:

  1. The server is deemed negligent when the employee serves a visibly intoxicated person or a minor under circumstances where the server knew, or reasonably should have known, that the person served was a minor;
  2. The injury or damage was proximately caused by the negligent service of alcoholic beverages;
  3. The injury or damage was a foreseeable consequence of the negligent service of alcohol.

Cases which involve the dram shop laws typically only involve financial damages to the injured person. In New Jersey, those injured in liquor liability claims can also seek punitive damages, meaning that the plaintiff can ask for additional punishment for extreme negligence.

It is important to note that the person who consumed the alcohol and then injured themselves or another cannot draw upon the dram shop/liquor liability law. Also, New Jersey requires that dram shop or other personal injury claims to be made within two years of the date of injury.

Who Can Be Held Responsible?

New Jersey holds certain establishments liable for injuries and fatalities. These establishments can be held responsible for injuries that occur as a result of negligent serving of alcohol.  Those establishments include:

  • Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Party hosts
  • Liquor stores
  • Wedding bartenders
  • Nightclubs

Cases that Involve Dram Shop Laws

Liquor liability laws can apply to a few different situations where one was injured due to alcohol consumption.

Car Accidents

If someone is served too much alcohol, then gets into a car accident, dram shop laws can be evoked to hold the establishment that served the individual alcohol responsible. The establishment cannot be held responsible for the injuries that the drunk driver sustained, but they can be held liable for any injuries that the driver caused.


Sometimes, an establishment can be found liable for injuries sustained in an assault. If the aggressor was served alcohol while visibly intoxicated, the server can be found responsible for the victim’s injuries in certain cases.

Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor

Minors are treated differently in the case of liquor liability. A minor in New Jersey can sue the bar, restaurant or party host that served him or her alcohol if the minor was injured as a result of the alcohol.

For example, if a minor is served at a bar then gets into a car accident due to alcohol impairment, he/she can sue the bar under the liquor liability or dram shop laws.

Hiring a Dram Shop Law Attorney

At Dansky | Katz | Ringold, our attorneys provide comprehensive legal services for many types of clients. When you choose Dansky | Katz | Ringold, we promise to always treat you like a member of our family.

Our lawyers understand dram shop and liquor liability laws and have experience navigating the complications that may come up in cases involving liquor liability.

If you or a loved one has suffered physical or financial troubles due to an overly intoxicated individual, Dansky | Katz | Ringold can help you to fight for the best outcome in your case.

To discuss your liquor liability claim, please contact us today for a free consultation: 800-609-7577.


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