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Georgia Dram Shop Laws and Liabilities

Practice Area photoThe Georgia dram shop laws protect injured parties where their injuries, death or damages are caused by the intoxication of a person that was served alcohol by a dram shop (or a social host at a social engagement). The Georgia Dram Shop Act gives the injured third party (or family or estate of) a cause of action against the dram shop (or social host) for selling, furnishing or serving to a minor, or continuing to sell, furnish or serve alcohol to the person of age that then drives, when such person then drove and injured, damaged or caused the death of the third party. Other states may recognize a difference between an action against a dram shop and a social host for their liability in injuries, death or damages to a third party; however the State of Georgia does not separate these as separate claims, therefore the Georgia Dram Shop Act also applies to social host liability claims in Georgia.

As experienced Atlanta dram shop attorneys, Scholle Law can represent you in your dram shop liability claim and ensure you or the estate of your loved one recover fully for the injuries, damages or wrongful death resulting dram shop or social host liability. These cases can involve a variety of issues and are intended to hold dram shop or social hosts responsible if they provide alcohol that leads to injury or death of a third person. Our lawyers have the skill and tenacity to hold those responsible for providing this alcohol. A loved one who has been seriously injured on the road by a drunk driver may need medical support and recovery for lost wages. Or perhaps a family member has been fatally injured by a person who was provided so much alcohol by a social host or dram shop. Locating the evidence and witnesses to this consumption requires experience. Interviewing witnesses, taking depositions and looking at other factors could well determine the outcome of what an injured person or family will receive in settlement or litigation. That is why hiring skilled lawyers like Charles Scholle and the Scholle Law team is so important. We know what the plaintiff must prove to recover from the third party who provided the alcohol and what the law allows in this regard.

For example, Georgia’s Dram Shop Act, subsection (a) includes a declaration by the Georgia General Assembly recognizing that the consumption of alcohol by an intoxicated consumer is the proximate cause of any injury, including death and property damage, inflicted by the intoxicated consumer upon himself or upon another and therefore the victim of such injuries, death or damages should pursue their claim for injuries against the drunk driver, unless the required elements in subsection (b) for a dram shop or social host liability claim are met.

As personal injury lawyers, subsection (b) of the Georgia Dram Shop Act is key. It outlines the two kinds of dram shop or social host liability actions possible in Georgia and what the plaintiff must prove to hold a dram shop or social host liable for injuries, death or damages. The two types of dram shop liability claims include:

  1.  a claim against a dram shop or social host for selling, furnishing or serving alcohol to a minor consumer the dram shop or social host knew would soon be driving;
  2.  a claim against a dram shop or social host for selling, furnishing or serving alcohol to an adult consumer that was “noticeably intoxicated” and known to soon be driving. 
The terms, "noticeably intoxicated” and "soon to be driving" have both been interpreted by the Georgia Courts. The Scholle Law team knows to seek out the relevant evidence to support these findings. If the facts are present for these, we will pursue the claim against relevant parties.

The act also provides a defense to the dram shop or social host in the case of a dram shop (or social host) liability action with a minor consumer. If the dram shop or social host can prove that alcohol was furnished with and acted in reliance on an identification of the minor consumer showing the minor consumer was not a minor, this shall be rebuttable proof that the alcoholic beverages were not furnished, sold or served to the minor consumer willfully, knowingly and unlawfully.

The act also clarifies that only if the person owning the premises is present and gives consent to serve alcohol to the consumer, minor or noticeably intoxicated consumer of age, can the owner of the premises be held liable under the Georgia Dram Shop Act. Excluded from the requirement for presence and consent is a business is licensed to sell alcohol. If the business is licensed to sell alcohol, then the owner of the premises can still be liable under the Georgia Dram Shop Act regardless if the owner of the premises was present and gave his/her consent.

Scholle Law can represent you in your dram shop liability claim to receive due compensation for your injuries or damages, or the wrongful death of your loved one, resulting from a dram shop or social host violating Georgia’s Dram Shop Act. Scholle Law has over two decades of experience in representing plaintiffs in wrongful death, catastrophic injury, dram shop liability and personal injury cases.

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