The Michigan dram shop law gives victims of drunk driving accidents the right to sue a business that serves alcohol to an intoxicated person before the crash. This includes furnishing liquor to a minor or a visibly intoxicated person.
What are Dram Shop Laws?
Dram shop laws exist in many states. The term “dram” comes from the historical method of measuring quantities of alcohol for sale. Michigan has a specific dram shop statute used for lawsuits against bars, restaurants, and other establishments.
Are Bars Liable for Drunk Drivers?
Under Michigan Compiled Laws § 436.1801(b)(3), a business that sells alcohol to a driver under the influence of alcohol if it was a foreseeable cause of the resulting injuries or death.
The business must have sold alcohol to a minor or a visibly intoxicated person to be held responsible. That person then must have caused an accident that resulted in injuries, death, or property damage.
Dram Shop Lawsuit Examples
A bar and bartender have legal responsibilities to protect the public from drunk drivers. For example, a bar may be liable if the bartender served alcohol to a customer showing visible signs of intoxication before the accident. This includes having slurred speech, falling off a bar stool, or even just behaving in a loud and obnoxious manner.
There must be actual evidence to prove the person was visibly intoxicated when served liquor to win a dram shop lawsuit. We often prove this through eyewitness testimony and bar surveillance video. We even get credit card receipts to show the amount of alcohol purchased at the bar by the driver.
How Much are Settlements in Dram Shop Lawsuits?
Like other personal injury claims, dram shop claims provide compensation to victims for their losses stemming from the accident. The types of damages that may be available in these cases include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological damages and emotional harm
- Disability from work and other activities
- Medical expenses and other no-fault insurance benefits
- Compensation under the Michigan Wrongful Death Act
Settlements against the bar or entity liable for serving the drunk driver are in addition to compensation paid by the drunk driver’s insurance company. Our dram shop lawyers will assess all potential claims to help win the highest possible settlement.
Time Limits for Filing Claims Against a Bar
Generally, Michigan auto accident lawsuits must be filed within three years of the date of the. However, the dram shop law sets different deadlines for filing a claim.
Under MCL § 436.1801(4), injury victims or personal representatives of deceased victims must file their dram shop claims within two years of the accident date that caused the injuries or deaths. The failure to do so will forever bar that claim.
Furthermore, anyone seeking to bring dram shop claims must first give written notice to all potential defendants within 120 days of retaining an attorney to pursue their claims. Failure to satisfy this notice requirement can result in the dismissal of any claims against any defendants who did not receive the required notice.
Contact a Michigan Dram Shop Attorney for Legal Help
The effects of a drunk driving accident are devastating for innocent victims and their families. It is important to quickly start on your case before important evidence is lost or destroyed.
Our experienced attorneys are eager to help on your road to recovery. We charge no legal fees to start your case and only get paid when you receive a settlement.
To learn more, schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. today.
- 29000 Inkster Road
Southfield, MI 48034
- Phone: (248) 595-7544
- 19 Clifford St.
Suite 805 Merchants Row
Detroit, MI 48226
- Phone: (313) 992-8281
- 1001 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
- Phone: (313) 777-8482
- 343 S. Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
- Phone: (734) 888-3003
- 51424 Van Dyke Ave
Shelby Township, MI 48316
- Phone: (586) 250-2626