Dram shop liability is the duty of a tavern, bar, restaurant, or other commercial entity to not oversell alcohol to their customers. These laws exist in all of the New England states and vary from state to state. Rhode Island punishes two acts under the Liquor Liability Act: when a dram shop has been negligent in the service of alcohol; or when it has acted recklessly in its service. Liquor providers in Rhode Island may also be liable if they provide alcohol to “a person of notoriously intemperate habits.”
Dram Shop Liability Laws
Under this law, anyone who has been injured by an inebriated person may sue the establishment that has sold the alcohol to an individual who has either become intoxicated (in the case of a minor), or become intoxicated to the point of injuring others (in the case of recklessly providing alcohol to an intoxicated person).
The objective of the dram shop liability is to foster responsible serving practices. Under this Act, it has to be shown that the server knew, or should have known, that the customer was drunk, a minor, or a person with notoriously intemperate habits. The law sets the standards in order to determine negligence or recklessness, and establishes the basis for compensation. It also allows certain evidence to be entered, including evidence that would show that the server of the alcohol either new or should have known the individual was intoxicated, or that the server failed to ask for identification and confirmation of the individual’s age.
In general, if a seller or server knows, or if a reasonably prudent person would know, that the individual is a minor, intoxicated, or a person of notoriously intemperate habits, then there is negligence. A seller is considered to be reckless if he serves a visibly inebriated person, he intentionally serves an individual when he knows that he is a minor or has a notoriously intemperate mood, and that such behavior would constitute a disregard of substantial risk that the individual will cause physical harm to the others. The law also admits evidence about the seller’s practices, or proof of responsible serving practices.
If you or a loved one has suffered any injury from a dram shop incident due to the negligence of the server or the seller, you may be entitled to receive compensation. Contact a competent dram shop liability attorney now to know your rights.
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