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Reviewing New Jersey's dram shop laws

Given the danger that drunk drivers pose to other motorists in Ocean County, you might question how is that such people are allowed to driver after drinking. You might expect one's friend or acquaintance to not allow him or her to get behind the wheel after having had one too many, yet what about those establishments that serve alcohol to patrons? Should they share in the liability if those patrons then drive and subsequently cause accidents? Such is the question that many have brought to us here at Silvi, Fedele & Honschke Attorneys at Law. 

Almost every state has adopted statutes referred to as "dram shop laws." These laws assign vicarious liability to businesses that serve alcohol to drivers who then cause car accidents. The term "dram shop" itself hearkens back to the time period where liquor and other alcoholic beverages were sold by a units known as "drams." Today it specifies those unique situations where you might be able to go after whomever assisted the driver that hit you in getting drunk. 

New Jersey's dram shop law can be found in Section 2A.22A-5 of the state's statutes. Here it states that in order to hold an establishment responsible in a drunk driving accident, you must first prove the following the elements: 

  • That the server (or other agent of the establishment) knowingly served alcohol to a patron that was already visibly drunk or who he or she knew to be a minor
  • That the accident that resulted was a foreseeable consequence of the decision to serve the patron
  • That your injuries and damages sustained were indeed caused by the decision to serve the patron

You can learn more about assigning liability following a car accident by continuing to explore our site. 

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