New York is one of 30 states where liquor stores, bars and restaurants can be held liable for providing alcohol to people whose intoxication results in injuries or death. New York is also one of 22 states that have statutes that limit liability to establishments that served or sold alcohol to underage persons or people who were obviously intoxicated.
The law that relates to civil liability in these cases is called dram shop law. Here let’s discuss the rights that accident victims or their families have under dram shop law in New York.
New York dram shop law states that any person who is injured as a result of an underage drinker’s intoxication has a right to sue the person or establishment that unlawfully provided the alcohol. The injured victim may also have to show that the person who provided the alcohol should have known or had “reasonable cause to believe” that the underage drinker was younger than 21.
In such a case, if the drunk driving accident resulted in death, then the husband, wife or child of the deceased has the right to seek damages from the person or establishment that provided the alcohol. Either one of the parents may bring a wrongful death suit under dram shop law, but if damages are recovered, then the law bars the other parent from bringing another lawsuit.
In a dram shop lawsuit involving a drunk driver who is age 21 or older, it is important to show that the seller or server of alcohol should have known that the driver was intoxicated at the time the alcohol was provided. Witness statements and surveillance video are two kinds of evidence in these cases.
If there is evidence that the drunk driver was obviously intoxicated when the alcohol was sold or served, then the victim or the family of the deceased has a right to sue the provider of the alcohol.
The lawyers of Newman, Anzalone & Newman represent individuals and families who have been harmed by drunk drivers in New York.
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