A woman speaking with her attorney. When faced with a liquor liability case, understanding the Kansas City Dram Shop Laws is imperative. These laws play a significant role in holding establishments accountable for selling alcohol to intoxicated individuals, which can lead to severe consequences such as car accidents. In 2020, alcohol was involved in 4,818 car accidents in Missouri. Despite the potential consequences of driving after consuming alcoholic beverages, some drivers still choose to place others and themselves at risk. It’s important to know the intricacies of these laws and how our experienced Kansas City Dram Shop Lawyer at Holman Schiavone Law, LLC can assist you in navigating such cases.

If you experienced a car accident injury due to a drunk driving accident, you might assume the driver and their insurance company are the only ones you can seek compensation from to cover your losses. Following a car accident involving an intoxicated person, you will want to contact a Dram Shop liability attorney, Holman Schiavone Law, LLC. Missouri’s Dram Shop law allows individuals who have suffered a personal injury due to the actions of an intoxicated person to hold a business responsible for overserving patrons. Call us today at 816-399-5149 for a free consultation to take the first step towards obtaining the justice and financial recovery you are entitled to after a drunk driving accident.

Understanding Missouri Dram Shop Laws

Missouri’s Dram Shop laws, applicable in Kansas City, dictate the circumstances under which victims who suffered personal injuries in drunk driving accidents can hold the commercial establishment where they were served liable for their losses. These laws play a significant role in liquor liability cases, where drunk driving accident lawyers represent victims who have been injured due to the negligence of establishments that serve alcohol.

The Dram Shop Act limits how liable businesses that sell alcoholic beverages are when one of their patrons injures themselves or someone else while intoxicated. This ensures that buyers and sellers are both protected under the law. 

In Missouri, a restaurant or bar can be held responsible for the injury or death of a person in a drunk driving accident. Establishments may be held accountable for injuries resulting from an intoxicated driver’s actions if they served alcohol to someone who was already visibly intoxicated or willingly served excessive amounts of alcohol to anyone.

Victims can seek compensation from a licensed alcohol vendor who served alcohol to a person under the age of 21, a visibly intoxicated person, or in cases where there is clear and convincing evidence that a patron is inebriated. Visibly intoxicated is the term for when a person’s intoxication is so severe that they exhibit significant physical dysfunction or significantly uncoordinated physical action.

This includes if they served alcohol to a person under the age of 21 or knowingly served liquor to a “visibly intoxicated person” who caused an accident.

Establishments in Missouri can present a legal defense under the Dram Shop Law if they have checked a valid driver’s license or any other personal identification issued by state or federal authorities. The identification should appear genuine and should indicate that the holder is at least 21 years old. However, accident victims and their attorneys can challenge this defense.

Establishments Covered by Dram Shop Laws

Bars, restaurants, social clubs, and theaters are among the establishments covered by Missouri Dram Shop Laws. To be considered under these Missouri Dram Shop laws, establishments must comply with the requirements outlined in Missouri Statute 537.053. A personal injury attorney from Holman Schiavone Law, LLC can help victims navigate these requirements and build a strong case.

Private citizens are not liable under Missouri’s Dram Shop Law for providing alcoholic beverages at a private event or gathering.

The Impact of the Missouri Dram Shop Law

Alcoholic beverages were measured by the dram in the 18th century, and pubs and other establishments that served intoxicating liquor were called Dram Shops. The Missouri legislature enacted the Missouri Dram Shop Act in 1929.

This act is designed to discourage a business owner from allowing his or her employees to serve customers past the point of intoxication. By holding the person licensed to serve alcohol accountable for the harm an intoxicated patron causes to others, servers and business owners are incentivized to behave responsibly.

Commercial Businesses That Sell Intoxicating Liquor

The Missouri Dram Shop law specifies that Dram Shop cases are restricted to vendors selling and furnishing alcoholic beverages for consumption on-site. Missouri Dram Shop laws protect stores that sell packaged alcohol because individuals should not be consuming their alcoholic beverages at the location where they were purchased.

Social Hosts

Although most states limit Dram Shop liability to businesses, some hold social hosts liable for the harm their guests cause after being overserved at an event. The Missouri Dram Shop Act does not hold social hosts accountable for furnishing beverages to guests. Even if a guest was underage or visibly intoxicated, Missouri’s Dram Shop law does not allow the victim to sue the host for the harm they suffered.

Identifying Visible Intoxication

Visible intoxication is a key factor in determining liability in Dram Shop cases. Missouri’s Dram Shop Law defines “visibly intoxicated” as being “inebriated to such an extent”. This is indicated by physical action or major physical dysfunction. Establishments in Kansas City can be held liable for serving visibly intoxicated individuals under Missouri’s Dram Shop laws, and injured parties may seek compensation for injuries caused by drunk driving accidents.

Health professionals have noted common signs of visible intoxication, including:

  • Incoherent or muddled speech
  • Loss of train of thought
  • Bumping into or knocking over furniture or people
  • Slow heart rate and low blood pressure
  • Loss of judgment and memory
  • Vision problems
  • Loss of balance
  • Drowsiness

Recognizing these signs can help establishments avoid serving visibly intoxicated individuals and, consequently, reduce the risk of drunk driving accidents.

How Do Employees Determine When a Patron Is Visibly Intoxicated?

A person’s blood alcohol content alone does not constitute prima facie evidence. Meaning “at first sight” in Latin; in this context, prima facie means good enough to establish as fact unless disproved. When establishing visible intoxication, blood alcohol level alone is not enough to confirm that the employee holds relative fault for not halting service to the patron.

Patrons Must be Inebriated to Such an Extent That They Are Physically Impaired

For a person to be considered visibly intoxicated, they must be intoxicated to the point where impairment is evident by significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction. Some other signs that a patron is visibly intoxicated may include bloodshot eyes, slow or slurred speech, and displaying emotional, aggressive, or obnoxious behavior.

What Is the Standard of Proof in Dram Shop Lawsuits?

Proving that a commercial establishment knowingly served intoxicating liquor to a minor usually isn’t challenging. Most bars and restaurants have security cameras, which means there will be a record of the server failing to ask the patron for their driver’s license or federal personal identification card to confirm their age. However, it can be difficult to demonstrate that a restaurant or bar knowingly overserved a visibly intoxicated person or had clear and convincing evidence that a person was intoxicated yet continued to serve them.

Missouri Dram Shop law has a high burden of proof, and plaintiffs (victims) are unlikely to win their Dram Shop claims without a seasoned Dram Shop liability attorney, such as one from Holman Schiavone Law, LLC, representing their case. Your Dram Shop attorney will help you compile relevant evidence that demonstrates that visible intoxication occurred and an employee willingly overlooked it instead of acting appropriately and refusing service to the patron.

Proximate Cause

For your case to be successful, the overserving of the patron or serving an underage patron must also be a proximate cause of your injury. The proximate cause of an injury is something that contributed to it directly and is also referred to as a legal cause. Without the proximate cause, the incident would not have occurred, making it a critical part of a dram shop liability case.

Establishing Liability in Dram Shop Cases

Determining liability in Dram Shop cases involves proving that an establishment knowingly served alcohol to an underage or visibly intoxicated person. This process requires in-depth investigation and gathering of evidence, such as:

  • Eyewitness testimonies
  • Surveillance footage
  • Receipts
  • Other documentation that indicates the establishment served alcohol to the individual despite their underage or visibly intoxicated state.

Dram Shop laws in the United States vary by state, but they generally impose liability on licensed sellers who contribute to someone else’s intoxication by selling or serving alcohol to intoxicated individuals who cause injury, death, or property damage.

Injuries and Compensation in Liquor Liability Cases

Someone in a car accident getting medical attention

Drunk driving accidents, can result in serious injuries, including:

  • Lacerations
  • Severe burns
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Permanent disabilities
  • Fatal injuries

In a drunk driving accident case, victims may be entitled to compensation for these damages. Victims of these accidents may seek compensatory and punitive damages for personal injuries as part of their compensation claims.

The purpose of compensatory damages is to cover the financial losses suffered by the victim, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages, on the other hand, serve as a punitive measure for the defendant’s particularly wrongful or egregious conduct.

The intoxicated driver who causes a car accident while operating a motor vehicle while impaired is legally accountable for any resulting damages.

Preventing Drunk Driving Accidents: The Role of Establishments

Establishments have a significant role in preventing drunk drivers and accidents by complying with Dram Shop laws and responsible serving practices. By not serving alcohol to intoxicated drivers or under the legal drinking age, establishments can help prevent alcohol-related incidents that may lead to injury, death, or property damage.

To help prevent drunk driving, establishments can:

  • Implement responsible alcohol service training
  • Enforce strict ID policies
  • Offer non-alcoholic drink options
  • Provide transportation options
  • Monitor alcohol consumption

By adhering to these practices and the Dram Shop laws, establishments can contribute to the prevention of alcohol-related accidents and foster a safer community.

How Our Kansas City Dram Shop Attorneys Can Help

Our Kansas City Dram Shop Attorneys at Holman Schiavone Law, LLC, adept in managing liquor liability cases in Kansas City Missouri, can guide you effectively through the legal process. We acknowledge the need for an in-depth investigation from the start and swift collection of relevant information to preserve evidence and identify witnesses.

Attorneys are instrumental in Dram Shop cases, providing legal guidance, helping to build a case, and seeking appropriate compensation for victims. With experience in handling such cases, our attorneys can:

  • Collect evidence to support a claim
  • Access resources and industry professionals to establish liability
  • Safeguard and uphold the rights of individuals affected by Dram Shop cases

Contact The Dram Shop Lawyers at Holman Schiavone, LLC- Your Ally in Liquor Liability Cases

No one likes to consider the possibility that they may encounter a drunk driver on the road, but unfortunately, thousands of Missouri drivers do every year. Personal injury cases involving drunk driving can be challenging to prove, especially if multiple parties are involved, such as the dram shop owner or server and the intoxicated person who injured you.

Understanding Kansas City Dram Shop Laws is essential for navigating liquor liability cases. These laws hold establishments accountable for selling alcohol to intoxicated individuals, ultimately protecting innocent people from harm. Our experienced Kansas City Dram Shop Attorneys at Holman Schiavone Law, LLC can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the legal process, ensuring your rights are upheld, and seeking the compensation you deserve.

Holman Schiavone Law, LLC offers personalized legal representation for individuals affected by Dram Shop cases, with a focus on protecting and preserving their rights. Our attorneys have experience in personal injury and employment law, and they can assist you in navigating the complexities of your case.

Do not miss out on the compensation you need to cover your medical bills and lost wages. We take on cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t pay any fees unless we recover compensation for you. For a discussion of your legal options and legal advice, reach out to us at 816-399-5149 for a complimentary initial consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Kansas have a Dram Shop law?

No, Kansas does not have a dram shop law. The state has stringent laws on alcohol sales but no form of Dram Shop liability.

Does Missouri have a Dram Shop law?

Yes, Missouri has a Dram Shop Law that holds bars and establishments liable for injuries caused by visibly intoxicated patrons. This law has a higher burden of proof than other states, with victims having a longer time frame to file a claim.

What is the definition of “visibly intoxicated” according to Missouri’s Dram Shop Law?

According to Missouri’s Dram Shop Law, “visibly intoxicated” is defined as being inebriated to such an extent that the impairment can be seen in one’s physical action or dysfunction.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Dram Shop in Missouri?