Many accidents, particularly motor vehicle accidents, are caused by alcohol. In Pennsylvania, a liquor licensee (bar, hotel, restaurant, etc.) may be liable when it serves someone who is visibly drunk and that person then injures himself or someone else. Additionally, both a liquor licensee and any adult (over 21 years of age) may be liable if they serve or furnish alcohol to a minor (under 21 years of age) who then injures himself or someone else.
Some examples can best illustrate these situations:
A bar continues to serve alcohol to hits patron, even though he is loud, obnoxious and begins slurring his speech. The patron then leaves the bar, stumbles in the street and falls. The bar may be liable to this patron for his injuries. The bar’s liquor liability insurance, if any, should cover this claim.
Parents decide to host a high school graduation party in their home. They buy a keg of beer, but insist that the minor guests stay overnight so that no one is drinking and driving. Unknown to the parents, one of the guests, who is drunk, leaves the party, gets in her car and crashes. The parents may be liable for both the guest’s injuries and the injuries to anyone else involved in the crash. The parents’ homeowner’s insurance will probably cover this claim.
Note: It is important to promptly investigate alcohol-related claims. Witnesses must be located to verity the necessary facts. This is particularly true when witnesses are needed to establish that a bar or other liquor licensee continued to serve alcohol after the patron appeared drunk.
If you or someone you know has been injured and alcohol is involved, I can assist you in evaluating your case.