Can You Hold a Bar Partially Responsible for a Drunk Driving Accident?

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Every year in California, families are shattered, and lives are forever altered by the devastating consequences of drunk driving accidents. While the primary blame for these tragic incidents undoubtedly rests on the shoulders of the individuals who choose to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, the bars and restaurants that serve alcohol could also be held partially responsible – especially if they served alcohol to a minor.

At Jassim Law, we empathize deeply with personal injury victims and their families. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll these accidents can take on your life. Our commitment to keeping communities safer is a driving force behind our work. We firmly believe that by holding responsible parties, such as bars and restaurants, accountable for their actions, we create a safer environment for everyone.

What Is Dram Shop Liability and How Does It Work in California?

Dram shop liability is a legal concept that holds alcohol-serving establishments responsible for serving alcohol to individuals who are visibly intoxicated or already under the influence of alcohol. In California, the rules are strict, and dram shop lawsuits are seldom successful.

California’s Civil Code Section 1714 states that furnishing alcohol is not the direct cause of injuries stemming from intoxication. Instead, it is the consumption of alcoholic beverages itself that is considered the primary factor. This essentially shields bars, restaurants, and party hosts from being held accountable for injuries related to drunk driving accidents. However, there are specific scenarios where exceptions may come into play:

Adults Providing Alcohol to Minors

The first exception comes into play when a parent, guardian, or another adult knowingly provides alcohol to a minor. If the intoxicated underage guest is subsequently involved in a DUI-related accident, the adult who supplied the alcohol can be held responsible for the injuries sustained by the minor and any harm they may have caused to others.

Licensed Sellers Who Serve Minors

The second exception applies to individuals who hold licenses to sell, provide, or serve alcohol. According to California’s Business and Professions Code Section 25602.1, an individual employed at a bar, restaurant, or liquor store who serves alcohol to an obviously intoxicated minor can be held responsible for any injuries or fatalities resulting from the minor’s actions.

Recovering Damages Under Dram Shop Liability in California

If you or a loved one has been involved in a drunk driving accident in California and you believe a bar or restaurant may be partially responsible, consult a knowledgeable drunk driving lawyer. These cases can be legally complex, and an experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal process, gather evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf.

In dram shop liability cases, potential damages can include compensation for:

  • Non-economic harms (Pain and suffering)
    • Loss of enjoyment of life
    • Physical Impairment
    • Mental suffering
    • Disfigurement
    • Emotional distress
    • Pain
    • Anxiety/Grief
    • Inconvenience
  • Medical expenses (past and future)
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation expenses
  • Cost of prescription medication
  • Lost wages or income (past and for the future)
  • Loss of companionship
  • Damages for the injury to a spouse or registered domestic partner (Loss of Consortium)
  • Wrongful death damages
  • Punitive damages

An experienced California drunk driving attorney with Jassim Law can work to secure the maximum possible compensation for your injuries and losses after a drunk driving accident.

Partner With an Experienced Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in California

While the primary responsibility for drunk driving accidents lies with the intoxicated driver, there are situations in which bars and restaurants that serve alcohol can be held partially responsible for their role in these tragic incidents. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driving accident, consult with a Jassim Law drunk driving lawyer to explore your legal options and seek the compensation you deserve.

With over 20 years of experience handling high-value, complicated injury matters, Attorney Pajman Jassim and his team are well-equipped to handle even the most challenging cases. Schedule your free consultation with a California drunk driving lawyer today by calling (619) 630-2680 or completing our convenient contact form.