Drunk Driving Accident And The Indiana Dram Shop Act


If you have been involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver the person who supplied the intoxicated driver alcohol may be liable if they over-served the driver. The Indiana Dram Shop Act states that if a bar furnishes alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person then they could be liable, pursuant to statute, if that intoxicated person goes out and seriously injures someone. These cases require that all of the requirements be met in order to succeed. In order to be liable the bar or brewery must:

  1. “furnish” the alcohol;
  2. to a person who is “visibly intoxicated”; and
  3. the intoxicated person seriously injures someone

While most of these cases involve bars and restaurants, other people or party hosts can be found in Indiana Dram Shop Actviolation of the DRAM Shop Act. A recent example is the Centerplate Case in Indiana where the Court ruled that the liquor vendor for Lucas Oil Stadium can be liable under the DRAM Shop Act. In other cases, a liquor store could be liable for selling alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. IT would follow that a Brewery could be liable under the DRAM Shop Act as well, especially on Sundays when they are the only establishment you can purchase alcohol and take it home.

It’s no secret that “Indiana Blue Laws” (no alcohol sales on Sundays) have been a controversial issue within the State for many years. Additionally, with the increased popularity and success of Indiana Sports Teams such as the Indianapolis Colts there has been an even more significant push towards repealing these outdated laws. Indiana Code Section 7.1-3-2-7 (I) states that a Brewery may, “sell the brewery’s beer as authorized by this section for carryout on Sunday in a quantity at any one (1) time of not more than five hundred seventy-six (576) ounces.” Let’s do the math, 576 ounces is the equivalent of forty-eight (48) twelve (12)-ounce beers or two cases of beer! A “growler” is generally 64-ounces and can cost around $5.00 to purchase. Once the “growler” has been purchased many establishments will fill it for $5.00 to $10.00 depending on the type of beer you wish to purchase.

According to MADD, in Indiana almost 200 people were killed by drunk drivers and almost 2400 were injured by drunk drivers in the most recent year.  Bars and Restaurants have traditionally been held negligent for over serving people and other businesses like Stadium Vendors, Liquor Stores and even Breweries can be held in violation of the DRAM Shop Act as well. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a drunk driver contact the Law Office of William Hurst for a free consultation.

Indiana Dram Shop Act

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William W. Hurst

Bill Hurst has successfully represented hundreds of accident victims, and has limited his practice to personal injury cases for over thirty-five (35) years.

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