Massachusetts’ Dram Shop law imposes liability on bars and other establishments in certain situations where a patron is overserved and causes injury to himself or others.
What is the Dram Shop Law?
Massachusetts’s General Laws, Part I, Title XX, Chapter 138, Section 69 states:
No alcoholic beverage shall be sold or delivered on any premises licensed under this chapter to an intoxicated person.
This means that any individual or establishment that serves a visibly intoxicated person may be held legally liable for damages if that person then goes on to cause damage or injury to another person in any form.
Social Host Liability
While other Dram Shop law states allow persons who serve alcohol to intoxicated individuals in a social setting, such as a party at someone’s home, to be held responsible, Massachusetts does not. Persons can be held legally liable for serving alcohol to individuals under the age of 21 at a social gathering, however, no civil statute exists at this time to hold persons who serve intoxicated individuals alcohol responsible if that individual goes on to cause injury or damages to someone else.
In order to have a successful claim against an establishment for overserving, a person who was injured or the survivors of a person who was killed by a person served too much alcohol at a party or establishment will need to prove that the server had knowledge that the person was already intoxicated or should have had such knowledge. Even if the dram shop claims that the person was not visibly intoxicated, if the plaintiff has evidence to suggest that a reasonable person would have clearly been able to see that the person was intoxicated before being served, the claim may still stand.
At The Murphy Law Group, we have the experience and resources to help you determine if you can use Massachusetts Dram Shop law to hold a bar or individual responsible for serving alcohol to the person who injured you or your family member when they shouldn’t have. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our North Andover office. Our phone numbers are (617) 570-9000 or (978) 686-3200. We are available now to help you go over the details of your case and learn more about what your rights are after suffering damages caused by an intoxicated individual.