Dram Shop laws came out of Great Britain and provided liability to the person that served alcohol as being the proximate cause, the reason that but for something occurred, was the alcohol.
Missouri does not have what was previously called Dram Shop Laws. However, we have made an exception to allow people injured by their alcohol servers to recover in certain circumstances. The law in the state of Missouri is set out in revised section 537.053 and provides three basic exceptions for allowing a person to sue another person that furnished alcohol beverages.
The original meaning of dram shop was that the bar was the proximate cause of injuries. In what is common law, you could sue if a bar served you alcohol and then it caused injury to someone else because of your negligence of driving or whatever the case may be. In Missouri, we allow you to sue a bar under three circumstances. The first is if you can prove 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 21 years or knowingly served intoxicated liquor to a visibly intoxicated person (537.053.2).
The second is if a person is “visibly intoxicated” when inebriated to such an extent that the impairment is shown by their uncoordinated physical actions or physical dysfunction. There may be liability for the person that served them alcohol. Some examples of visible intoxication as identified by Courts in Missouri are slurred speak, loud swearing, watery eyes and stumbling.
Missouri law specifically excludes liability for the bar when the bar serves a person so much alcohol that they die because of the intoxication, unless the person is under the age of 21 years.
This is for bars that serve people on their premises.
If your loved ones have been involved in a car accident with a drunken driver, or if there is a fatality that arises because of a bar serving a visibility intoxicated person with alcohol, please call us.
If you have a question about the sale of alcoholic beverages which later causes injury, please call the law firm of Cantor Injury Law, LLC. We can help.