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Understanding North Carolina’s Dram Shop Liability Laws

Most people in the state of North Carolina are aware of the fact that they can pursue compensation if they are ever struck and injured by an intoxicated driver—whether they are on a motorcycle, in a car, or walking on the street. What many do not realize, however, is that the drunk driver may not be the only one that is liable for causing their injuries.

According to the state’s dram shop liability laws, institutions like bars and nightclubs can be held equally responsible for providing the victim with compensation if it is discovered that they have over-served an individual who subsequently got behind the wheel and injured a third party. In fact, these laws impose strict liability upon the “seller of intoxicating beverages when the sale results in harm to a third party’s person, property, or means of support.”

This means that if a bar continues to serve a clearly intoxicated patron and allows them to leave the establishment and/or serves a minor any amount of alcohol, this particular business may be subjected to a civil lawsuit along with the drunk driver.

Not all states in the US uphold dram shop liability laws, and many of the ones that do only allow these particular cases to be seen when the circumstances of the accident are clearly defined. In North Carolina, this particular law falls somewhere in the middle, as dram shop liability is considered to be “limited.”

According to a table that has been created by the Wisconsin State Bar, North Carolina’s laws hold a vendor strictly liable for intoxicated minors, while vendors and social hosts are liable under limited circumstances for the actions of an intoxicated minor and/or adult.

For this reason, if you are looking to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against a drinking establishment for serving the drunk driving that has injured you, it may be a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney about your case before taking any action. Grounds to pursue such a lawsuit may be limited in your particular case, so you should not hesitate to explore all of your legal options with a firm that truly understands how to handle this area of the law.

At the Whitley Law Firm, our dedicated legal team possesses years of experience in handling all facets of personal injury law, so we urge you to find out how we can help. Whether you were injured as a pedestrian or you were involved in a car accident, we welcome the opportunity to review the facts of your case at no cost to you. All you have to do is give us a call today, so do not hesitate to take action immediately.