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Dram Shop Laws in California

Dram shop laws in California involve holding a business strictly liable for sales of alcoholic beverages to an obviously intoxicated person. The purpose of California’s dram shop laws is to raise awareness of those establishments serving alcohol to guests. Dram is a British measurement unit used for serving alcoholic drinks.

In actuality, dram shop laws in California are limited because California legislation recently removed severe liabilities that apply to businesses offering alcohol to customers. That means even a bar or liquor store might not be strictly liable for alcohol sales to individuals who appear obviously intoxicated. However, California businesses are still held liable if they sell alcohol to obviously intoxicated minor individuals.

It’s important to realize that, even if the business isn’t liable under civil law, in severe cases it might be subject to a criminal misdemeanor charge. In that scenario, the bar, restaurant or liquor store owner might be responsible for damages to an injured party. California case law has previously held that consuming alcohol, not the act of serving alcohol, is the most direct cause in the event of an accident. Therefore, sales of alcoholic beverages by the bar or liquor storeowner in California isn’t determined as the primary cause of a vehicle accident.

The majority of personal injury claims involve two parties: an injured individual and another individual or business that is alleged to have caused the injury. In a California dram shop law case, the injured party seeks damages from an establishment who either sold or provided alcohol to the individual accused of injuring another party.

Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of an intoxicated driver? Contact The Paris Law Firm to arrange a consultation now.




Our founder, attorney Eric D. Paris, has represented injured people in Southern California for more than 22 years. Prior to founding The Paris Firm, Mr. Paris worked as an insurance defense lawyer, which gave him great insight to the insurance companies evaluation of claims and their tactics to minimize your recovery for your injury matter. You will personally meet with an attorney and your case will be handled by an attorney with the assistance of our paralegals and support staff.

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