Can a Bar or Restaurant Be Deemed Responsible if They Overserve a Customer?

2-1Can a Bar or Restaurant Be Deemed Responsible if They Overserve a Customer?

You may have witnessed someone in a bar or restaurant getting served more drinks even though they were obviously intoxicated. You might wonder how the person will be able to get home or whether they will be okay, but can the establishment actually be held liable if something happens? What will happen if the person leaves the place and goes on to cause a terrible accident that injures or even kills someone else? A North Carolina man recently got the answer.


North Carolina Man Receives Settlement

A North Carolina man recently reached a settlement with some establishments that over-served a woman who ended up causing an accident that killed his new wife. The accident happened in South Carolina on the couple’s wedding night. The couple were riding in a golf cart when they were struck by a vehicle. The crash resulted in the wife’s death. The woman driving the vehicle that caused the accident was arrested and tested for alcohol. The results of the tests found that she was more than three times the legal limit.


Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “What if a loved one dies from the injuries sustained in a serious accident while the case is pending?”


Establishments Settled Lawsuit

At least a couple of establishments reached a settlement with the widower in the case. The man sued the establishments because they were seen providing drinks to the woman who was already clearly intoxicated at the time. Establishments have a duty to ensure the safety of their customers and others. By over-serving the woman, they were at least partly to blame for the accident that killed the man’s wife. There are several other establishments that could also be facing potential lawsuits in the same matter.


Dram Shop Lawsmoralization-2-1485613

North Carolina, like other states, has dram shop laws in place. A dram shop is a “commercial establishment that sells alcoholic beverages”. Bars and restaurants are two common examples of dram shops. The law states that dram shops can be held liable for the harmful acts of their customers due to the over-consumption of alcohol at their place of business. In other words, if the bar serves more alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated, they could be held responsible for their actions. Dram shop laws apply to selling alcohol to minors as well.


North Carolina General Statutes 18B-305

North Carolina General Statutes 18B-305 specifically addresses the sale of alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated patron. The important thing to understand about the law is that the employee of the establishment must have served the customer knowing that they were already intoxicated. You will need to prove that the bar or restaurant over-served the person even after they knew that the person was drunk and then allowed them to leave the premises. If the over-served person then goes on to cause harm due to their intoxication, the establishment could then be held liable for the resulting damages.


If you or a loved one is the victim of harm caused by someone who was over-served, you may be owed money from the establishment that provided alcohol. To learn more, contact our attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at (704) 370-2828 for a consultation.



The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.




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North Carolina widower files settlement with restaurants that served drunk driver who killed his wife (


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