Applying Dram Shop Liability to Your Drunk Driving Case

On behalf of The Berger Firm Jan. 18, 2018

Most of those who come to see us here at The Berger Firm after having been charged with driving under the influence in Covington typically state that they would never even previously thought of getting behind the wheel after drinking. You likely share the same assumption. The trouble is that one of the methods in which alcohol effects the body is to the depress the function of the frontal cortex of your brain, which regulates judgment. Thus, when intoxicated, your inhibitions often loosen, which lay lead to you making unwise decisions. The hope is that whomever is witnessing this knows when to cut you off.

Yet what if they do not? You may have previously heard of dram shop liability. This allows vicarious liability to be assigned to establishments for the actions of patrons to whom they served alcoholic beverages. This law may seem to be limited to those who you might have injured if your alleged drunk driving resulted in a crash, yet in actuality, you may be covered by it as well. Section 413.241 of Kentucky’s Revised Statutes specifically says (in referencing an establishment serving alcohol to you) “shall be liable to that person or to any other person.” This opens up the door for you to potentially pursue if you believe an establishment was negligent in serving you.

To prove this, the law requires that you show that in your particular case, “a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances” would have known by your actions and/or demeanor that you were already intoxicated, yet the establishment’s employee or agent continued to serve you. More information on dealing with drunk driving charges can be found throughout our site.