In New York, just like in any other state, if you are injured by an intoxicated person's negligence, you can bring a personal injury claim against that person. But in some situations, your options for a legal remedy don't stop there. An injured person may also be able to bring a claim against the business (such as a bar or restaurant) or other third party that provided the alcohol to the intoxicated person. These are known as "dram shop" claims, based on the fact that alcohol was historically sold by a unit of measure called a "dram."
In this article, we'll look at third party liability for an alcohol-related accident in New York, including the state's dramshop laws, and the rules that affect social hosts who provide alcohol at parties and other events.
Section 11-100 covers liability when the intoxicated person is a minor, while Section 11-101 covers liability when a vendor or individual provides alcohol to an intoxicated person illegally. In these situations, an injured person may bring a claim against the party who provided the alcohol if:
As in the example involving Todd's Tavern, Pamela may seek damages from Howie for providing alcohol to Della despite knowing Della was underage.
It's important to note that New York law does not allow an intoxicated person to pursue a civil remedy against the provider of alcohol if the intoxicated person him/herself is injured in an alcohol-related accident. So, in the examples above, Della would not have a civil claim against either Todd's Tavern or Howie.
Like other injury claims filed in a New York court, a claim for dram shop or social host liability must be filed within the time limits dictated by the state's "statute of limitations." In most cases, a claim must be filed within three years of the date of injury in order to be considered by the state's courts. Otherwise, if the three-year window has closed, you can count on the court dismissing the case. Because certain factors can change the running of the statute of limitations, it is important to consult an attorney who is licensed to practice in New York in order to understand how the statute of limitations applies to your situation.
Like other civil law claims, in an alcohol-related accident case, liability is expressed solely in terms of money damages. Damages may be awarded to compensate an injured party for a number of losses, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Learn more about Damages in a Personal Injury Case.