You Might Not Be the Only One Responsible for Allowing Yourself to Get Too Drunk
A man was stabbed outside an Old City club recently. Around 3 a.m., a 34-year-old man was the victim of a stabbing to his left leg. The event took place at Recess Lounge, one of the many after-hours clubs throughout the city of Philadelphia. The stabbing developed after another man started a fight while leaving the club. Police are investigating the crime, but no arrests have been made yet. While the victim was taken in critical condition to the hospital, he was lucky. In recent months there have been multiple incidents of violence plaguing the streets on late weekend nights. Usually, one or more of the victims or perpetrators, have been drinking.
What could have happened to lead to this violence? What rights does the victim have to recover for his injuries? While the cause of this incident is still unknown, many victims of similar crimes might have a way to recover. Club and bar owners owe a duty to their patrons to keep them safe from harm while inside and from incidents that begin inside and lead to injury once patrons leave.
Under the Pennsylvania Dram Shop Law, anyone who supplies alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated can be held responsible for damage that person might cause to a third party. The Pennsylvania Liquor Code, Section 4.493(1) states it is illegal to: ... "permit any liquor or malt or brewed beverages to be sold, furnished or given, to any person visibly intoxicated, or to any minor.'' This law applies to individuals as well as businesses such as restaurants, clubs, or bars that sell or serve alcohol. Private events are also subject to Pennsylvania's Dram Shop Law.
Bar and club owners are responsible to stop their patrons from drinking if they are showing signs of intoxication such as: staggering or stumbling while walking, slurred speech, drowsiness, bloodshot eyes, or showing signs of the inability to continue to sit straight. If an owner or their staff does not stop patrons from continuing to drink if any of these signs exist, and the patron causes harm to himself or another, the owner may be liable.
Dram Shop Laws provide a way not only for the injured third party to recover but also for the intoxicated person to recover. If it can be proven that the bar owner knew that the individual was intoxicated, and served additional alcohol, claims can be brought against them. Usually this can be proven by video footage of the bar, witnesses, receipts, or bartender or staff testimony. If you find yourself the victim or even the perpetrator of a crime because of intoxication that could have been reduced if the bar had acted faster, it’s important to begin to collect this evidence quickly before it’s lost or forgotten.
If the man who was stabbed knew he was in danger while inside the club and he knew that the bar owners should have stepped in, he may have a claim. He may also have a claim if the bar owners or their staff knew that the man who stabbed him was visibly intoxicated. After hours, clubs take on additional risks serving drinks late into the 4 a.m. hour and with this risk comes responsibility. Even if they cannot see the total amount of consumption over the entire evening, they are still responsible to stop people before they go over their individual limits.
The Philadelphia Dram Shop attorneys at the law firm of Reiff and Bily have the knowledge, personal experience, and commitment necessary to investigate crimes caused because of alcohol and hold the owners of bars, restaurants, hotels, as well as the social hosts responsible for injuries or deaths caused by intoxicated patrons. If you or a loved one has been killed or injured as a result of an alcohol-related accident caused by the negligence of an irresponsible party, please contact one of our experienced Dram Shop liability attorneys at Reiff and Bily for a free evaluation of your case at 1-800-421-9595 or online at www.reiffandbily.com.