Liquor Liability

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Liquor Liability Personal InjuryThe attorneys at North Carolina Personal Injury are experienced at handling liquor liability cases. Call or email us to discuss the potential liability for serving alcohol that led to injury from excessive drinking. Injured by a drunk driver or intoxicated person? You may be able to seek compensation from the bar, the bartender or the social host. Our experienced legal team will investigate your dram shop or social host liability claim and may be able to provide representation for you.

What is the difference in Dram Shop versus Social Host or Liquor Liability? The difference is that a dram shop law imposes liability only on sellers of alcoholic beverages (like bars, liquor stores, and restaurants) whereas social host liability can be imposed on anyone who provides alcoholic beverages to guests or visitors, if that guest goes on to injure someone while intoxicated.

North Carolina Social Host Liability

A series of North Carolina court decisions has opened the door to potential civil liability for private hosts who serve alcohol in a social setting – at a party, for example. This kind of liquor liability extends to anyone who provides alcohol to guests (as opposed to dram shop laws, which apply to businesses that sell alcohol).

North Carolina case law says that when an intoxicated social guest causes an accident, the injured person may be able to seek damages from the social host if:

  • the host served or provided the alcohol,
  • the host knew or should have known the person being served was intoxicated, and
  • the host knew the person would be driving after being served alcohol.

Unlike dram shop liability, social host liability in North Carolina is not limited to cases in which the host served alcohol to minors under age 21. Instead, it applies to all social guests, regardless of age.

North Carolina’s Dram Shop Law

Thirty states have statutory provisions that allow licensed establishments such as restaurants, bars, and liquor stores to be held liable for selling or serving alcohol to individuals who cause injuries or death as a result of their intoxication. North Carolina is one of twenty-two of the 30 states which statutorily limit the liability to cases where the establishment sold or served alcohol to an obviously intoxicated individual or a person under the legal drinking age.

N.C. Gen. Stat. §18B-120 et seq.

An aggrieved party has a claim for relief for damages against a permittee or local Alcoholic Beverage Control Board if:

(1) The permittee or his agent or employee or the local board or its agent or employee negligently sold or furnished an alcoholic beverage to an underage person; and

(2) The consumption of the alcoholic beverage that was sold or furnished to an underage person caused or contributed to, in whole or in part, an underage driver’s being subject to an impairing substance within the meaning of G.S. 20-138.1 at the time of the injury; and

(3) The injury that resulted was proximately caused by the underage driver’s negligent operation of a vehicle while so impaired.

N.C. Gen. Stat. §18B-123

The total amount of damages that may be awarded to all aggrieved parties pursuant to any claims for relief under this Article is limited to no more than $500,000 per occurrence. When all claims arising out of an occurrence exceed $500,000, each claim shall abate in the proportion it bears to the total of all claims.

If you have a liquor liability issue, the attorneys at North Carolina Personal Injury are here for the advice that may help you determine if you have a case. We are here not only to represent you, but also to support you by keeping you informed.


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