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Pennsylvania Dram Shop or Bar Laws

Pennsylvania Dram Shop or Bar Laws

What Does the Term “Dram Shop” Mean?

The term “dram shop” stems from England, where alcohol was once served by the dram, or spoonful. It is now generally used to describe bars and restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages to patrons. Under Pennsylvania law, a business or individual that serves alcohol to a person who is clearly intoxicated is legally responsible for any damages caused by the intoxicated person. It is often used in automobile accident cases, where the at-fault driver is found to be under the influence of alcohol. A dram shop lawsuit can be difficult to prove, so the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney is vital to the success of these cases.

What the Law Says

The Pennsylvania Dram Shop Act states that no third party can hold a licensee liable for damage inflicted off of the licensee’s property unless the at-fault customer was sold, furnished or given alcohol by the licensee or an agent of the licensee while the customer was visibly intoxicated. To successfully bring a suit under this statute, the plaintiff must prove:

  • That the serving party was an employee or agent of the establishment
  • That the customer was visibly intoxicated – This standard largely depends on the physical appearance of the customer at the time of service. Slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and inability to stand without assistance are all reasonable signs of intoxication. In cases involving an automobile accident, blood alcohol test results, or a DUI conviction, may prove sufficient to establish intoxication.
  • The decision to serve the alcohol proximately led to the resulting damages or injuries.

Though dram shop lawsuits usually involve automobile accident cases, they can also stem from other situations, like a drunken bar fight or destruction of property by an intoxicated party. In each of these situations, the court requires substantial evidence to prove the allegations. Mere speculation is not sufficient to secure a determination of liability from the court. For this reason, it is imperative that you secure representation from an attorney with experience in handling Pennsylvania Dram Shop cases.

Contact A Personal Injury Attorney in Jenkinown, PA – Randy Kaplan

If you were injured or incurred damages by an intoxicated individual, contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to discuss the merits of your case. Randy H. Kaplan Law Offices can provide you with the representation you need to secure the compensation your case deserves. Contact the Randy H. Kaplan Law Offices online or call 215-576-8870.



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Why Hire Randy Kaplan Law Offices?


Immediate Attention

We understand how important your case is and that is why your call receives immediate attention directly from the attorney. We help you understand your options in order to make informed decisions. As a local law practice with multiple offices, we are able to offer reasonable and competitive rates.

Tens of Millions in Results Over 30 Years

In over 30+ years we have recovered millions on behalf of our clients and their families. Our drive and our commitment to our clients who are the victims of auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, work related injuries including asbestos claims has led us to have a proven track record of success.

Aggressive Representation

Our goal is always to put your best interests first. And we have been successful at it for over 30 years. How do we do it? By being aggressive when you need us to be. If you are unable to work, can't pay your bills and are facing extensive therapy or rehabilitation you need an injury lawyer to protect your rights and fight for you and your case. Remember, nobody likes an aggressive lawyer, until you need one.


We take pride in our dedication to our clients and their cases. Firm attorney Randy Kaplan has practiced law since 1982 and has personally handled THOUSANDS of cases including auto accidents, work related injuries business law and employment law. In each and every case we are dedicated to providing our clients with the type of service only a local law firm can provide.