Many people believe that any injury or harm caused by an inebriated individual is that person’s responsibility alone. Numerous states, including Georgia, dispute this claim and have dram shop laws in place that hold a licensed business liable for the resulting damage that occurred. The National Conference of State Legislatures explains Georgia’s dram shop laws and how they affect business owners.
The scope of liability can be very broad in some states with dram shop laws. In Georgia, liability is restricted to two separate occurrences. The first is that an employee, such as a bartender or clerk at a liquor store, cannot serve a person who is already intoxicated. Secondly, alcohol can’t be provided to a person who is underage. All businesses that provide alcohol are urged to ID patrons to establish they are of the legal drinking age.
When it comes to underage drinking in the state, parents or guardians of the person who was provided alcohol unlawfully can pursue action against the provider. Along with businesses like bars and restaurants, individuals can also be pursued if they facilitated the sale of alcohol to people who were underage. As an example, if a parent allows her children and their friends to have a party with alcohol in her home and one of the attendees is harmed as a result, the parent could face legal actions.
The person who consumed alcohol and subsequently caused an accident or injury cannot legally pursue the provider of alcohol, regardless of the circumstances. That means a person who caused a car accident while drunk and was injured as a result can’t sue the establishment where they were served, even if it’s agreed that the establishment shouldn’t have served them due to their intoxication.