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People who drive under the influence and cause an accident can be held liable for their actions. However, it is important to know that any parties who served the individual before the accident may be held liable as well. This is done through DRAM Shop laws and Social Host laws.

DRAM Shop Laws

DRAM shop laws were put into effect in the state of New York to protect victims of drunk driving accidents. Under this law, it is illegal for a business with an alcohol license to serve an individual who is visibly intoxicated. Whether or not the individual is intoxicated is left up to the discretion of the server. Signs of intoxication can include slurred speech, glassy or bloodshot eyes, difficulty finishing sentences, incoherent speech, stumbling, falling, impaired fine-motor skills, and more. 

If the licensed establishment or individual continues to serve them, they can be legally responsible for injuries and damages the person may cause in a drunk driving accident. This law is in place for taverns, bars, pubs, restaurants, and more. It also holds the establishment liable in the event of a pedestrian accident as well. DRAM shop laws are applied under the following conditions:

  • An employee of the establishment serves alcohol to a person who was visibly intoxicated
  • The decision to serve the intoxicated customer directly caused injuries and damages

Social Host Laws

People who host parties in their home can be held liable for the behavior of their underage guests who leave their event intoxicated. Under social host laws, if an underage guest consumes alcohol at an adult’s party and is involved in an accident, the host can be held responsible for serving the minor.

It is important to know that this is in effect even if the host was unaware that a minor was drinking at their event. Social host laws can be applied in the following situations:

  • If a minor consumes alcohol at your party and is injured or killed in an accident
  • If a minor consumes alcohol at your party and injures or kills someone else

What Do I Do if I Am Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident?

The most important thing you should do after being involved in an accident is to seek medical attention immediately. This allows you to take care of any injuries you may have due to the accident. This will document your injuries including how and when they happened. This and an official police report from the accident can be used to build a case against the individual or establishment that caused the accident. Police reports can outline all information regarding the accident and how it occurred. Victims of a drunk driving accident should contact a skilled attorney to help them navigate their case.

Contact our Firm

If you have been seriously injured as a result of another party’s negligence, contact Swerling Law today to schedule a free initial consultation.


To a man who was assaulted at a restaurant and sustained a traumatic brain injury.


Settlement to a barista who slipped and fell on a defective stairwell while working for Starbucks who sustained back injuries requiring multiple surgeries in 2012.


Settlement to a woman who was assaulted and sustained back/hip injuries in 2015.


To a man who sustained back injuries when he was a passenger in the car that rear ended another car.


Verdict to a high school student who was assaulted by a school dean during her lunch period dislocating her hip in 2014.

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