Dram Shop and Social Host Liability Laws in West Virginia

Drunk driving occurs on a daily basis throughout many communities in the United States. Unfortunately, the crime of drunk driving is not a victimless offense as individuals are injured every day as a result of a drunk driver. Drunk driving is a serious offense in many states, including the state of West Virginia. Each year, many individuals succumb to their injuries after a drunk driving incident and, in some cases, the loss involves the intoxicated driver as well as innocent victims. If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident as a result of another’s drunk driving, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury law attorney. The attorneys at Colombo Law are reputable personal injury attorneys who can assist you with your claim against an intoxicated driver.

Explanation of Dram Shop Laws

If you are injured in an accident or incident, you deserve compensation. In some instances of drunk driving, there are multiple individuals that may be liable for your injury. In many states, including West Virginia, Dram Shop laws were enacted to allow an injured party to bring a civil suit against third party establishments who served the intoxicated individual. Take the following example:

John and Mary agreed to meet at A Club located in Morgantown, West Virginia for a few drinks at 11:00 p.m. Mary has two drinks but decides to stop drinking prior to her ride home. Unlike Mary, John believes he will be okay. He goes to the bar and asks for two beers and three shots. John appears intoxicated by midnight. At midnight, John make his way over to the bar, but trips over a bar stool as he nears the bar. His voice is slurred and his eyes are glazed over. John requests three more shots before he hits the road. The bartender gives him the shots and cheers him on as he consumes three shots in a row. Despite Mary’s pleading to allow her to take him home, John says he is fine. Shortly after departing the bar in his vehicle, John strikes Joe, causing serious injuries.

In the scenario above, Joe may have a cause of action against A Club. The A Club may be held liable for Joe’s damages if the court finds that the bar was reckless in serving additional alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. In these types of cases, the knowledge of an experienced attorney is necessary to ensure that proper discovery is completed and that your case will survive any summary judgment motions or dismissal.

Explanation of Social Host Liability

Unlike Dram Shop liability, social host liability seeks to hold individuals liable for serving a person or minor who is visibly intoxicated. Scenarios involving social host liability usually arise during house parties or other similarly planned events. Many states will hold social hosts liable for serving intoxicated individuals. However, the state of West Virginia does not recognize social host liability for minors or children.

Contact an Experienced Attorney today

If you have been injured in an accident or incident in a drunk driving incident in the state of West Virginia, contact Colombo Law today. Our experienced attorneys will review your claim to determine whether you are entitled to relief during a no-risk initial consultation.

by Colombo Law
Last updated on - Originally published on