Dram Shop Act Legal Definition

What is the Dram Shop Act?” 

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  • Dram Shop Act
Dram Shop Act Legal Definition

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Dram Shop Act legal definition: Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Act makes it unlawful for businesses and private party hosts to furnish alcohol to minors and visibly intoxicated patrons. The purpose of the Dram Shop law is to make these establishments liable for any property damage and injuries caused as a direct result of serving a visibly intoxicated person.

In order to successfully sue under the Dram Shop Act in Pennsylvania, you must be able to prove that:

  1. An employee or agent of the bar, restaurant, or private party host served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person
  2. The employee or agent’s decision to serve alcohol to the visibly intoxicated person directly led to injuries and/or property damage

Patrons are deemed to be visibly intoxicated if:

  • Their eyes are bloodshot
  • Their speech is slurred
  • They are staggering

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Dram Shop Act and Car Accident Cases

Thousands of people each year are injured in drunk driving accident in Pennsylvania – many after being over-served at local drinking establishments. 

If a drunk driver leaves one of these establishments after being over-served and then causes a serious accident, the business can be sued under the Dram Shop Act in Pennsylvania for bodily injury and property damage claims. 


Dram Shop Act and Personal Injury Cases

There are two scenarios where Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Act would come into play in a personal injury claim.

If drinking establishment, bar, or private party host serves a visibly intoxicated patron, and that person starts a fight and injures someone, the victim can file suit under Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Act for legal compensation.

Similarly, a visibly intoxicated patron who is served alcohol and slips and falls on their way home could sue the business under the Dram Shop Act. 





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