Dram Shop Act, Pursue Your Claim Quickly
Unfortunately, when people drink to the extent that they get drunk this can cause people to lose control and make terrible choices.
These choices can result in property damage, car accidents and even death. If a person is drunk and causes damage to you or your property, you should not be forced to incur that cost. THERE ARE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES FOR DELAY IN PURSUIT OF YOUR CLAIM. See below for details.
At the Law Office of Kevin C. Ferry, LLC, located in New Britain, Connecticut, our personal injury lawyers will fight to protect your rights and ensure that you are compensated for your losses. If you have lost a love one, we will fight to obtain justice and make the wrongdoer take responsibility while still remaining aware of your needs during this time of grief and loss. The laws of Connecticut recognize that you should not be forced to incur the costs of the damage caused by a drunken individual. The Dram Shop Act is the first step in recovering your damages and allows you to recover against the seller of the liquor. But, these types of cases can be complicated. Many times there are numerous restaurants and bars with various legal names and legal entities. This can make it difficult to determine liability especially given the severe time restrictions associated with a Dram Shop claim.
The only way to ensure the case is properly assessed and evaluated is to complete a thorough and exhaustive investigation. This investigation is also needed to ensure you are advised of all of your potential avenues for recovery. For example, in some cases there may be a claim for negligent supervision of a bartender.
Dram Shop Act: A $275,000 Settlement
In a recent case of ours we pursued a case against a bar owner for failing to properly supervise his bartender, which at the time was a novel claim. Our client’s original attorney did not pursue this claim. We saw the value of the case, went to trial and the jury assessed total damages at $275,000.00 for our client. Our claim was upheld by the Connecticut Appellate Court. See Cummisky v. Seguro, 82 Conn.App. 186, (Conn. App. 2004).
What is the Dram Shop Act?
The act known as the Dram Shop Act creates strict liability against a liquor seller who sells to an intoxicated person who thereafter injures the person or property of another. Strict liability in this context means the injured party does not have to prove that a particular drink caused the accident or that the seller acted unreasonably. The Plaintiff must simply establish that the seller sold alcohol to an intoxicated person who thereafter injured the Plaintiff.
What is required to establish a Dram Shop Claim?
This Act requires that you place the bar owner on notice of a claim within ninety days of the incident. As such, it is imperative that you contact a qualified dram shop attorney as soon as possible in order to protect your rights.
The Dram Shop Act (C.G.S. 30-102) caps the seller’s liability at $250,000.00. This is often not nearly enough money to cover the terrible injuries or death caused by drunk drivers. The trade off for limited damages is that the injured party does not have as much to prove as he/she would in a negligence case. Sellers of alcohol who sell to minors do not have the protection of the $250,000.00 damages cap. In addition, unlike a Dram Shop claim, the minor does not have to be intoxicated when the sale of alcohol is made. As such, if a package store sells to a minor and the minor drinks the alcohol several days later and causes an accident, the package store is liable for all of the damage.
What other types of claims can be made against a liquor seller?
There are a number of additional claims that can be made in cases involving alcohol. For example, there may be a claim of negligent supervision of a bartender/employee. See Cummisky v. Seguro, 82 Conn.App. 186, (Conn. App. 2004) (where we obtained a jury verdict of $116,882.25 for our client after his previous attorney had not even pursued the claim). The final type of claim that can be made against a liquor seller is for reckless sale of alcohol.
This claim was created by the Connecticut Superior Court in Kowal v. Hofher, 181 Conn. 355, 436 A.2d 1 (Conn. 1980). If a liquor seller recklessly sells to an intoxicated person, the liquor seller is liable for the full extent of damages. In addition, the Court may award punitive damages to punish the liquor seller and to deter other liquor sellers from acting recklessly. Our lawyers have represented individuals with injuries ranging from neck and back strains to permanent brain injuries to death.
We handle cases throughout the entire state of Connecticut including Hartford, Waterbury, Middletown, New Britain, New Haven, Bridgeport and the surrounding towns. Regardless of your injury or where you are located, we will aggressively fight for you. In the pursuit of justice, the Law Office of Kevin C. Ferry, LLC has recovered millions of dollars for our clients through negotiated settlements, binding arbitrations and trials. See our Results page.