Dramshop Acts (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Statutes, also called civil liability acts, that impose civil liability upon one who sells intoxicating liquors when a third party has been injured as a result of the purchaser's intoxication and such sale has either caused or contributed to the state of intoxication.
A dramshop is any type of drinking establishment where liquor is sold for consumption on the premises, such as a bar, a saloon, or, in some cases, a restaurant. Under dramshop acts, the seller of liquor can be sued by an individual who is injured by an intoxicated person. Such acts protect the injured third party not only against personal injuries and property damages resulting directly from the actions of the intoxicated individual (such as those resulting from drunken driving or ASSAULT AND BATTERY) but also against the loss of family support owing to such injuries. Generally, the person who became intoxicated cannot sue the seller if she or he is injured, nor can any active participant in the drinking.
The dramshop laws are based on the principle that anyone who profits from the sale of alcoholic beverages should be held liable for any resulting damages. For a seller to be held liable, it is unnecessary to show that he or she is negligent, provided it is proved that the seller sold liquor to a habitual drunkard or a person who was already drunk, which is generally illegal in itself.
(The entire section is 610 words.)
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