The fault for a New Jersey drunk driving crash is usually self-explanatory. Drivers know that getting behind the wheel while over the legal limit is a crime, but some people do it anyway because they assume they won’t get caught.
When they end up causing a crash, they can inflict major injuries and thousands of dollars in losses on a completely innocent person. Unfortunately, the person who causes the drunk driving crash may ultimately not have enough liability insurance to properly reimburse the person they hurt.
Sometimes, those affected by a drunk driving collision may need to look into a dram shop claim against a bar or restaurant that served the drunk driver.
How does dram shop liability work in New Jersey?
When a business wants to serve alcohol to members of the public, the owner or manager has to secure a liquor license. That license allows them to profit from the sale of intoxicating spirits provided that they comply with state law.
They have a duty to be responsible in how they serve alcohol to the public. There are two separate situations in which a business’s sale of alcohol might open it up to liability when their customer causes a drunk-driving crash.
The first and most obvious is when they serve a minor. If a business serves an underage customer alcoholic beverages and then that minor causes a crash, the licensed business is responsible for serving someone underage.
The second scenario in which the business is potentially liable occurs when they are negligent in their service of alcohol by over-serving. Over-serving someone either by not disclosing how strong a beverage was or by providing additional drinks to someone who is already clearly intoxicated could constitute negligent service.
Learning about your rights after a drunk driving crash can help you explore your different options for compensation.