Seattle dram shop attorney.

Dram shop laws govern the potential liability for over service of alcohol. Of course the person causing the injury may also be liable. Dram shop laws focus on the potential liability of the server of alcohol. These laws apply commercial servers – bars, restaurants, etc.

Private servers of alcohol – at social parties, etc. – are not liable for service to adults, but may be for service to minors. There is an exception for business functions, even if the business does not charge for the alcohol and is not normally in the business of serving alcohol.[1]

It is not enough that the person causing injury was drunk at the time of the accident. Instead, the focus in on whether the person consuming the alcohol was apparently intoxicated at the time the alcohol was served.

This can be tricky to prove. People can be intoxicated, but that is not always immediately apparent to others. The intoxicated person may not seem drunk – for instance they may not slur speech, stagger, etc. This is especially true for heavy drinkers.

For this reason, the blood alcohol level of a drunk driver who causes injures to others may or may not admissible as evidence in court. [2]

The importance to act early.

For this reason it is important to act early if you or someone you know was injured by someone who was intoxicated. It is important to try to find witnesses and preserve evidence early, before any such evidence is lost.

Injured persons who may bring a claim for over service of alcohol.

Third persons injured by over service of alcohol may bring a claim against the business or individuals who over served.


Generally the person who was intoxicated may not bring an injury claim against the business or individuals who served them alcohol. There is an exception for minors. A minor who was injured as a result of being intoxicated may bring a claim against the business or individuals who served the alcohol.

Contact a Seattle Dram Shop Attorney

To learn more, speak with our Seattle Dram Shop Attorney by calling 206-801-1188.



[1] Christen v. Lee, 113 Wash. 2d 479, 780 P.2d 1307 (1989). Dickinson v. Edwards, 105 Wn. 2d 457, 716 P.2d 814 (1986).

[2] Compare Fairbanks v. J.B. McLoughlin, Co., Inc., 131 Wash. 2d 96, 929 P.2d 433 (1997) with Purchase v. Meyer, 108 Wn. 2d 220, 737 P.2d 661 (1987).

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