Bars that Over-serve and Cause Accidents and Injuries are Liable for Damages in Dram Shop Cases

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We at Messa & Associates are proud of our success in obtaining compensation for the innocent victims of someone else’s negligence. Injuries may be caused by negligence occurring in a wide variety of areas. People may be injured by negligent medical treatment, a defective product, poor maintenance of property, careless driving, and other negligent acts and omissions.

All too often, horrific injuries occur when alcohol is combined with driving. In such cases, we at Messa & Associates pursue the drunk driver and in many cases we also pursue the business (most often a bar) that served alcohol to the drunk driver. Cases against the business that served alcohol to the drunk driver are known as Dram Shop cases.

Under Dram Shop law, a bar that serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person (a drunk) is legally responsible for the damage the visibly intoxicated person causes. The justification for making a bar responsible for the actions of a person it served alcohol to, is based on the nature of alcohol, its effects on drivers, and the trauma that results when alcohol and driving are combined.

This article discusses alcohol and its relationship to injuries.

We begin with a discussion of trauma. The praiseworthy work of the American Heart Association and the American Cancer society has made all of us aware of the seriousness and tragedy of these diseases. In addition to these terrible diseases a third and powerful killer lurks. This killer is trauma. Trauma is the medical term for damage to a person from an external source. Studies by the Center for Disease Control show that trauma is the leading cause of death for individuals aged 1 to 44 years old. While the very young are less resistant to trauma, so are the elderly. Both groups are less able to sustain and recover from a traumatic injury. Of course trauma not only kills, it also maims and inflicts terrible pain, often permanently.

In addition to the human cost, trauma has a tremendous financial cost. As just one example of the cost of trauma, The National Institutes of Health estimate the cost of just one year of treating adult victims of trauma to be 27 billion dollars.

Everyday experience tells us that motor vehicle accidents are a major cause of trauma. This is confirmed by medical science. The Mayo Clinic points out that when considering the possible causes of spinal cord injuries, including falls and gunshots, the leading cause is motor vehicle accidents.

Trauma produces painful and expensive results. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of trauma. This witch’s brew of evil is stirred up and made worse by the addition of alcohol to motor vehicle operation. While the connection between excessive alcohol and traumatic injury is readily apparent, a presentation by the American College of Surgeons sets forth the connection clearly and concisely.
Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. A standard drink equals 0.6 ounces of pure ethanol. A standard drink would be: 12 ounces of beer; 8 ounces of malt liquor; 5 ounces of wine; or 1.5 ounces (a “shot”) of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey). The American College tells us, “[a]lcohol is a drug and affects the body just like pills or injections.” The more you drink, the more you are affected. Alcohol affects the operation of a motor vehicle in many ways: shortens attention span, slows reaction time, interferes with performance of complex motor tasks, and causes serious misconceptions. “Alcohol is responsible for approximately half of all trauma deaths and nonfatal injuries in the United States—a very tragic and very expensive public health problem that continues every day and every night.”

Alcohol is a drug that impairs those who use it. Impaired individuals injure innocent people. Those who sell alcohol must be careful who they sell alcohol to. If they sell alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, they are properly held responsible for the consequences.

New Jersey and Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling personal injury or dram shop cases involving drunk driving, drunk violence, or other accidents caused by alcohol. Our extremely skilled team of personal injury attorneys and medical experts is dedicated to ensuring you receive proper compensation for your personal injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered personal injuries caused by alcohol, contact the personal injury attorneys of Messa & Associates for a free consultation. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry.


Call the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers of Messa & Associates today to discuss your case with a professional who has the knowledge to answer your questions or submit a free online inquiry.

Call, toll-free, 1-877-MessaLaw (637-7252), or submit a free online inquiry form.

About the Author:

Director of Marketing for Messa & Associates located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For all marketing or press release communications, contact

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