Beebe and O'Neil

What are Connecticut’s dram shop liability laws?

If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, you may be wondering who is liable for your injuries. While the driver who hit you will often be responsible, it is also possible to pursue a claim against the bar or entity that provided him or her with alcohol.

Under Connecticut law, an alcohol vendor may be responsible for a drunk driving accident when alcohol is given or sold to someone who is intoxicated. The law demands that the vendor must have given the person alcohol in an intentional or reckless manner.

For example, let’s say that a bar patron is visible intoxicated. The person is falling out of the chair, slurring speech and having difficulty staying awake. However, the bartender continues to serve the person alcohol. If that person then gets into a vehicle and wrecks into and injures you, the bar could be responsible for damages.

The law in Connecticut does address what are known as social hosts. Whereas a business could be held liable for a wreck, the host of a party typically will not be. The exception to this rule is when a social host provides alcohol to a minor. If someone under the age of 21 is given alcohol and then causes harm to someone else, the party host is not only responsible for civil damages, but he or she could also face misdemeanor criminal charges as well.

Under the state’s statute of limitations, you have two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit citing dram shop liability. The same timeframe applies to pursuing a civil claim against the drunk driver.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

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