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Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers Holding Businesses and Individuals Liable for Irresponsible Liquor Practices

Restaurants, bars, grocery stores and liquor stores all make considerable profits off of the sale of beer, wine, liquor and other intoxicating beverages. However, Georgia state law recognizes the danger of selling or furnishing alcohol to an already intoxicated person and the potential for a devastating personal injury or wrongful death to occur. When a retail store or establishment neglects its duty to the public and an accident or injury results, the Georgia personal injury lawyers at Stemberger & Cummins in Newnan work to hold those businesses accountable to the people they have harmed.

Georgia Dram Shop Laws Explained

Laws regulating liability for the sale or provision of alcohol to intoxicated persons are known as dram shop laws, based on an old term for a bar or saloon that sold alcoholic beverages. Georgia’s dram shop law can be found at O.C.G.A. 51-140. Under this law, a person can be liable for furnishing alcohol to another in two instances:

  1. The consumer was under 21; or
  2. The consumer was noticeably intoxicated

In either case, there are three elements that must be proven in order to impose dram shop liability under Georgia law:

  1. The alcohol was knowingly furnished to a minor or to an adult who was noticeably intoxicated;
  2. The alcohol was furnished knowing the consumer would soon be driving a motor vehicle; and
  3. The provision of the alcohol was the proximate (legal) cause of the injury.

Liability for Social Hosts

Georgia’s dram shop law does not only apply to liquor stores, bars and restaurants. The law applies to any person who “sells, furnishes or serves alcoholic beverages” where the three elements mentioned above are present. Under Georgia law, a host at a private party who serves alcohol to an intoxicated guest can be held liable for injuries caused by that guest. The law does make clear that the consumer of the alcohol cannot sue the provider of the alcohol for his or her own injuries; only third parties who are injured by the intoxicated individual may sue the alcohol provider under the law.  (This also brings up legal issues for parents of minors who throw parties where alcohol is provided to other underage children.)

Get Help With Your Georgia Dram Shop Case from Proven Successful Personal Injury Attorneys

Proving a case of dram shop liability can be a complex and difficult matter. The server of the alcohol may claim that the consumer did not appear noticeably intoxicated or that the provider did not know the consumer would soon be driving a motor vehicle. Unless there are credible eyewitness to the contrary, the injured plaintiff may have to rely on circumstantial evidence to prove that the elements of the law are met.

At Stemberger & Cummins, our attorneys combine over 60 years of courtroom experience to prepare and present a strong, persuasive case designed to achieve success for our clients. When an accident occurs, we look at every angle and fight to hold every responsible party accountable for their role in causing a serious injury or wrongful death. If you have been injured in an automobile accident caused by a drunk driver in Newnan, LaGrange, Douglasville, Atlanta or Georgia statewide, contact Stemberger & Cummins, P.C. at (678) 552-2518 or for a free consultation regarding how we can help you obtain compensation for your injuries.

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