Businesses who sell alcohol in New York should be aware of what dram shop liability is and how it can affect them.
If a person is injured by someone who was intoxicated because of an unlawful sale of alcohol by the business, he or she may have a dram shop liability claim.
It is against the law in New York for businesses to sell alcohol to people who are under age 21 and/or who are visibly intoxicated.
Preventing a claim
Businesses can help prevent a dram shop liability claim by asking for identification from anyone who appears to be under 21 or from all customers purchasing alcohol.
Also, it can help for staff to know what signs to look for to determine if a person is intoxicated like slurred speech, for example. If staff observe these signs, it may be appropriate to deny alcohol service to the person.
The business may also want to consider partnering with a ride sharing service to ensure that customers do not leave the business intoxicated and cause an accident or injury.
It may also help if the business can demonstrate that the person became intoxicated after leaving the business’s location, not while he or she was there.
Defenses to a dram shop liability claim are dependent on the circumstances of the incident, however an experienced attorney can conduct an investigation and offer advice about next steps.
Dram shop liability claims can be expensive for businesses and can also cause reputational harm in the community where they operate. There is help available for businesses to defend themselves.