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North Carolina Dram Shop Liability Claims


North Carolina Dram Shop liability law prohibits bars, restaurants, ABC stores and other establishments from providing alcohol to customers who are intoxicated or to people who are under 21 years old. Juries can hold these businesses liable for damages when their actions result in drunk driving accidents. Similarly, people who serve alcohol at gatherings or parties in their homes could be liable when their guests drive drunk and cause car accidents and harm to others. This is known as Social Host liability.

North Carolina state statutes regulate the sale of alcohol. These statutes specifically prohibit giving or selling alcohol to intoxicated people or to underage people by licensees of permittees of the State. State appeals court decisions have allowed injured victims to seek compensation from bars and other businesses for their injuries, medical bills, and other damages.

Who Enabled the Drunk Driver?

Dram Shop liability requires evidence that the liquor establishment or social host served alcohol to someone who was visibly intoxicated or under the legal drinking age who they knew or should have known was going to operate a motor vehicle on the public highways or roads. You will need an experienced attorney, who can present a well-documented case for compensation.

You must be able to prove that:

  • A bar, restaurant, or other merchant served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated individual or a minor.
  • As a result of being over-served alcohol, the individual became impaired and operated a motor vehicle.
  • The bar, restaurant, or other merchant knew or should have known that the individual would be operating a motor vehicle.
  • The impaired driver caused you harm.

Proving these elements can be tough, but Maginnis Law’s head personal injury attorney, T. Shawn Howard, is experienced in complex drunk driving cases.

Compensation in Dram Shop Liability Cases

Just like in other types of motor vehicle collision and drunk driving claims, you are entitled to seek compensation for your damages in North Carolina Dram Shop liability cases. In many instances, it can be difficult to collect the compensation you are due from an impaired driver. This may be because the drunk driver’s insurance policy limit is not high enough, and/or because he or she does not have the necessary assets to afford your rightful settlement or verdict. Many North Carolina automobile insurance policies have limits as low as $30,000.

Acting against a liable establishment may allow you to collect the compensation you need and are owed for your pain and suffering caused by the impaired driver. Their commercial general liability policies frequently have policy limits as high as $1,000,000 or more. Depending on the nature of your individual case, you may be able to seek compensation for the following damages:

  • Emergency medical transportation.
  • Medical treatment, including ongoing care, medical assistance, etc.
  • Lost income and/or wages.
  • Lost or reduced earning capacity (disability).
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Emotional distress.
  • Vehicle damage.

Representation for Dram Shop Cases

If you or a loved one have been injured because of the negligent sale of alcohol to a minor or an intoxicated person, the personal injury attorneys of Maginnis Law may be able to help. Our office offers free consultations and contingency fee arrangements for personal injury and wrongful death cases, including Dram Shop and Social Host cases. The firm has successfully handles these cases in the past, recovering nearly $3,000,000 in a 2018 Dram Shop case.

To speak with our lead personal injury attorney, T. Shawn Howard, visit our contact page or call Shawn directly at 919.480.8526. You can also call our office at 919.526.0450.

Our firm handles cases involving injuries caused by drunk drivers from the mountains to the coast, including cases in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Greensboro and Charlotte.

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