Many jurisdictions across the nation have what are called “dram shop
laws.” A dram shop law extends liability to the purveyors of beverages
for injuries that arise from someone’s intoxication. The liability
established under dram shop laws has the potential to decimate a liquor-selling
business, exposing them to potentially millions of dollars in personal
injury damages.

Under Section § 25-781 of the District of Columbia Code, “the
sale or delivery of alcoholic beverages to the following persons is prohibited:

  • A person under 21 years of age, either for the person’s own use or
    for the use of any other person…
  • An intoxicated person, or a person who appears to be intoxicated; or
  • A person of notoriously intemperate habits.”

When a person – an individual or business – violates a statutory
law or regulation that was designed to protect the health and safety of
the general public, evidence of that violation can be used to demonstrate
that the individual or business acted negligently. When such negligence
leads to another person’s injury, the negligent person can be liable
for those injuries.

“All bars and restaurants have a duty to be reasonable (i.e., not
negligent). Even if they aren’t responsible for accidents caused
by an intoxicated patron, they can be responsible for serving too much
alcohol to someone if that person hurts themselves in the bar or causes
of a fight,” Thomas Simeone – named partner of Simeone &
Miller LLP – explained in a article. “For
example, if a bar has a stairway that is not well lit, the more it serves
someone, the more likely it is the person may fall and bring a claim.
If so, the bar will have to admit that it knew the stairs were being used
by people who had been drinking, which makes it foreseeably dangerous.”

Thus, if a business operating in Washington D.C. sells alcoholic beverages
to an intoxicated person – or a person who appears to be intoxicated
– they can be liable for injuries that arise from such intoxication.
This can include drunk driving accidents, bar fights, and slip and fall injuries.

Washington D.C. Personal Injury Attorneys at Your Service

At Simeone & Miller LLP, our clients benefit from years of personal
injury litigation experience – and so can you. We are dedicated
to providing you with highly-rated legal representation that focuses on
the particular needs of your case. If you were injured by the acts of
an intoxicated person, we can help determine whether liability for those
injuries extends back to the act of a bar over-selling alcohol to the
at-fault party.