You have an opportunity for a potential lawsuit if a drunk partygoer hurts you in a bar or on the road. They shouldn’t have gotten as drunk as they did and put other people around them in harm’s way. However, these terrible results are sometimes a team effort. The guilty party had to get their alcohol from somewhere. Even though bartenders have training on who they can give alcohol to, they can still make mistakes from time to time and serve someone who shouldn’t have the substance in their system.
Each state has a “dram shop law” that details when someone serving alcohol is liable for an intoxicated person’s actions. In Missouri, this is applicable to vendors that have a license to sell intoxicating liquor on the premises. You have limits on who you can accuse of violating these laws in Missouri, so you should know the most common methods you can use to prove the vendor was failing their job.
The customer’s age
There are two ways to confirm that the vendor should not have been serving alcohol to the customer. One way is to figure out what age the customer that injured you was. Missouri bartenders cannot serve alcohol to anyone under 21. Bartenders must check IDs to confirm the buyer’s age. However, some negligent workers may skip the process if the customer looks over 21 or it is a busy night and they are serving a large group of people.
The key evidence that determines the vendor’s liability is the customer’s ID. If the guilty party lacks one or has an ID that clearly shows they are in high school or are under 21, then the bartender is clearly liable. However, the results may vary if the minor was carrying a fake ID. The court may not find the vendor guilty if they rule that the minor tricked them into serving alcohol. The results depend on how realistic the fake ID looks. There may be certain elements of the card that the bartender overlooked that would have hinted at the ID being fake.
The second way the court finds the vendor liable is if there’s evidence suggesting the buyer was already very intoxicated. Working in an establishment where people go to get purposefully drunk means they should have a good idea of when someone has had enough.
This can be difficult to prove especially in a drunk driving case. Not all bars in Missouri have cameras that provide visual proof of the person’s behavior. If you were injured at the establishment where the person was drinking, it may be easier to gather potential witnesses since you’ve seen some or know some of the others there in person. If it was a drunk driving crash, then there needs to be an immediate investigation so that the witnesses can be accounted for and so their memories are fresh of the night it happened.
Proving that a bartender violated the dram shop law is no easy task, but you deserve as much coverage as you need to recover from your injury. Make sure you are aware of what legal options you have at your disposal before filing a claim.