In most states, third parties such as bar and restaurant owners can be held liable when patrons are over-served and go on to cause drunk driving accidents.

These “dram shop” laws allow drunk driving accident victims or their families to sue negligent third parties for damages in personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits.

Typically, insurers for the alcohol vendor and the drunk driver share liability in personal injury claims and are responsible for damages accordingly.

However, it’s not always easy to win a dram shop claim.

In many states, the plaintiffs must prove several elements that properly link the sale of alcohol to the accident that took place. It can also be difficult to prove that the bar or restaurant knew or should have known that the patron was intoxicated but continued to be served.

There are roughly 43 states that have dram shop laws. Missouri’s dram shop laws are referred to as “tavern liability.”

A skilled personal injury lawyer is needed in order to file a successful tavern liability claim against a bar, tavern or restaurant in the state of Missouri after a fatal drunk driving accident occurred.

  • For more information on holding a third party such as a bar or restaurant owner liable following a drunk driving accident, please visit out page on tavern liability.

Source:, “Dram Shop Laws,” April 21, 2014

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