The term “dram shop” is a hold over from colonial times when alcohol serving establishments (called shops) used units of liquid measurement called drams to serve their alcohol in uniform portions. Dram shop laws are laws that were enacted in order to hold alcohol serving establishments and bar tenders responsible in certain cases involving personal injury or death due to alcohol related accidents.
Under these laws, bartenders and bars who allow patrons to become extremely inebriated and then leave their establishments in their cars and later cause personal injury or death to other drivers through crashes can be sued for both physical and emotional injuries.
Dram shop liability has, for the most part, stayed the same since 1985. There are a number of limitations on dram shop liability, including who may bring the lawsuit, who may be sued, and the circumstances surrounding the personal injuries or death. There are also limits on damages that can be collected from establishments and bartenders.
Dram shop laws have held a good deal of intense criticisms from organizations and individuals who believe that these laws take away from personal liability and restraint. It has also been argued that there are way too many factors involved in properly assessing how inebriated a patron is. For the most part, it is difficult to have any uniform process for keeping individuals from drinking beyond his or her personal limit.
For more information on Wisconsin dram shop laws, contact the Rhinelander personal injury lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® for more information about your legal options at 800-242-2874.