Recently, a Missouri restaurant allowed a patron to drink excessive amounts of alcohol until he was slurring his words, annoying other patrons, staggering to the bathroom, and using offensive curse words in a very loud voice, among other actions that showed he was visibly intoxicated.  After having served him many alcoholic drinks, they then allowed him to go out, get into his car and drive away from the restaurant. After he left, he had a head-on collision with a brother and sister who had left a sporting event at their high school.  Their injuries were severe, life-threatening, life-changing and permanent.  A beautiful young lady had her teeth knocked out, her legs crushed and her brother’s promising football career was ended.

The restaurant’s actions were in direct violation of a Missouri Statute, RSMo §537.053, which states that the “Sale of alcoholic beverage may be proximate cause of personal injuries or death — requirements — (dram shop law)…. 

2.  Notwithstanding subsection 1 of this section, a cause of action may be brought by or on behalf of any person who has suffered personal injury or death against any person licensed to sell intoxicating liquor by the drink for consumption on the premises when it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the seller knew or should have known that intoxicating liquor was served to a person under the age of twenty-one years or knowingly served intoxicating liquor to a visibly intoxicated person. 

3.  For purposes of this section, a person is “visibly intoxicated” when inebriated to such an extent that the impairment is shown by significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction.  A person’s blood alcohol content does not constitute prima facie evidence to establish that a person is visibly intoxicated within the meaning of this section, but may be admissible as relevant evidence of the person’s intoxication.”

Many people believe that drunk drivers are the only ones from whom you can collect for drunk driving accidents.  Certainly, drunk drivers are held responsible criminally and, if they have assets or automobile insurance, they also may pay for the harms and losses caused by their actions.  However, the injuries inflicted by drunk drivers are often much more substantial than the value of their automobile policy. There are also occasions in which the bar or restaurant that over-served alcohol to the drunk driver may be held liable in civil actions.  Often times, bars and restaurants will have insurance that covers their negligence for the over-serving alcohol to the drunk driver.

Bartenders, waitresses, and others who work in Missouri restaurants, bars or establishments that sell alcohol by the drink, are to be properly trained to spot the warning signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech, unsteadiness on their feet or loud talking.  If patrons are allowed to drive away drunk and if they injury someone else, these establishments may be held responsible in whole or in part for the car accident that results in serious injury or death.

At Griggs Injury Law, LLC, our Missouri personal injury legal team is experienced in handling liquor liability dram shop cases.  We work closely with private investigators and other professionals to present the evidence necessary to recover damages for victims of individuals who have been served too much alcohol, resulting in car accidents or other dangerous situations.  Contact our office today for unsurpassed legal guidance and representation in over services of alcohol and liquor liability cases.