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What are the implications of New York’s dram shop laws?

Sometimes a person suffers injuries or is killed by a drunken driver who left a bar or other venue where alcohol is sold before the accident happened. The injured person or one’s survivors may be able to hold the bartender or retailer civilly liable for their injuries and damages.

Dram shop laws were first passed in England in the 1700s. The name stems from the practice of selling patrons drams (or spoonfuls) of gin. The laws seek to establish a clear path to liability for whoever continued to serve or sell the drunken customer alcohol.

Social liability laws are covered under the same premises liability umbrella as dram shop laws. The major difference between the two is that the former expands to hold those individuals in private homes or other non-public venues responsible if a driver maims or kills somebody after being “overserved” by a bartender.

But make no mistake — plaintiffs have an uphill battle to prove that their deceased loved one died because a retailer or bartender didn’t cut off the liquor to a customer who was already obviously trashed.

However, no two intoxicated people act exactly the same under the influence or even display the same signs of intoxication. That can make it quite difficult for a bartender or vendor to quickly assess the state of intoxication of every person purchasing a drink from them.

The intent of the laws is to offer some measure of compensation to those DWI victims who were adversely affected by the negligence of drunken drivers and those who provided them with the excessive alcohol.

Source: Findlaw, “Dram Shop Laws,” accessed April 28, 2017

Verdicts &
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$3.75 Million

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$3.5 Million

Million for a carpenter injured on a construction site by a falling metal clamp

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$3 Million

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$2 Million

for a woman who sustained multiple serious injuries after being struck by a hit and run driver in Manhattan.

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$1.825 Million

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$1.475 Million

for a Carpenter who was injured when the scaffold he was working upon collapsed.

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$1.2 Million

for a 35 year old Cement and Concrete worker from Queens who sustained serious injuries to his back when he slipped on debris and refuse.

Verdicts & Settlements

$1.2 Million

for a Construction worker and young father in the Bronx who was fatally electrocuted while on a scaffold.

Verdicts & Settlements

$950,000

for two sisters in high school who sustained serious injuries when struck by a vehicle that mounted the sidewalk in Brooklyn as they waited for the bus to take them to school.

Verdicts & Settlements

$825,000

for a woman injured as a passenger in an accident involving a bus and a car in the Bronx.

Verdicts & Settlements

$777,000

for an Ironworker on Long Island who sustained serious injuries when he fell from a ladder which slid out from under him due to icy footing.

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$750,000

for a surgeon who sustained a broken knee in a motor vehicle accident (January, 2017).

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$660,000

verdict for a 35 year old Cement and Concrete laborer who was injured when the scaffold he was walking upon collapsed.

Verdicts & Settlements

$650,000

for a cement and concrete worker who slipped and fell over construction debris.

Verdicts & Settlements

$650,000

for a Cement and Concrete worker who injured his back as a result of slipping upon a discarded pipe and falling down a flight of steps.

Verdicts & Settlements

$500,000

for a Nursing Home resident injured due to lack of proper care.

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$325,000

for a woman who sustained multiple serious injuries to her shoulder as a result of a trip and fall upon a defective sidewalk at a construction project in Manhattan.

Verdicts & Settlements

$250,000

verdict in the exact amount demanded by our office for our client, but refused by the responsible defendants, was awarded by the jury to our client who sustained a fractured elbow as a result of a fall upon a badly broken sidewalk.

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$325,000

for a young woman who sustained a fractured ankle as a result of a fall on soapy steps in her apartment building in the Bronx.

Verdicts & Settlements

$495,000

for a young mother who was struck by a car while crossing the street near her home in Queens sustaining serious injuries to her leg requiring the surgical placement of a metal plate and screws.

Verdicts & Settlements

$600,000

for a woman who sustained multiple injuries as a passenger in a motor vehicle accident.

Verdicts & Settlements

$425,000

was secured by our office for a Cement and Concrete worker injured when a work area collapsed beneath him.

Verdicts & Settlements

$400,000

for a woman struck from behind by a car as she walked to a supermarket in a shopping center parking lot in Yonkers.

Verdicts & Settlements

$200,000

for a young man, 15 years of age, who sustained a partial tear of the rotator cuff of his right shoulder, which has now healed without any limitation upon his activities.

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$325,000

for a school principal in the Bronx who tripped and fell over a construction plate in the school parking lot.

Verdicts & Settlements

$300,000

for a young Cement and Concrete worker who was struck by falling debris dislodged from a building by a swinging crane.

Verdicts & Settlements

$250,000

for a Cement and Concrete worker injured as a result of a fall at a Manhattan construction site.

Verdicts & Settlements

$300,000

for a school teacher in the Bronx who sustained an injury to her shoulder when she tripped and fell due to negligently placed computer wiring.

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$275,000

to a Construction laborer doing bridge work whose arm was fractured when falling construction material caused him to fall into the East River and onto debris.

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$450,000

for a child injured when a table fell on him in a laundromat in Queens.

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$450,000

verdict for a Volunteer Firefighter in Westchester who sustained injuries in the course of fighting a fire.

Verdicts & Settlements

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