Injuries and Deaths Caused by Selling and Serving Alcohol
Far too many injuries and deaths are caused by restaurants, stores, and even individuals selling and serving alcohol to people that are obviously impaired and who are obviously going to drive motor vehicles. Georgia law allows us to hold businesses and individuals that provide alcohol to obviously impaired people that are obviously going to drive liable for the horrific consequences that result from these people driving.
The liability of those that sell and serve alcohol is determined by Georgia’s DRAM Shop statute:
(a) The General Assembly finds and declares that the consumption of alcoholic beverages, rather than the sale or furnishing or serving of such beverages, is the proximate cause of any injury, including death and property damage, inflicted by an intoxicated person upon himself or upon another person, except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this Code section.
(b) A person who sells, furnishes, or serves alcoholic beverages to a person of lawful drinking age shall not thereby become liable for injury, death, or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such person, including injury or death to other persons; provided, however, a person who willfully, knowingly, and unlawfully sells, furnishes, or serves alcoholic beverages to a person who is not of lawful drinking age, knowing that such person will soon be driving a motor vehicle, or who knowingly sells, furnishes, or serves alcoholic beverages to a person who is in a state of noticeable intoxication, knowing that such person will soon be driving a motor vehicle, may become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such minor or person when the sale, furnishing, or serving is the proximate cause of such injury or damage. Nothing contained in this Code section shall authorize the consumer of any alcoholic beverage to recover from the provider of such alcoholic beverage for injuries or damages suffered by the consumer.
(c) In determining whether the sale, furnishing, or serving of alcoholic beverages to a person not of legal drinking age is done willfully, knowingly, and unlawfully as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, evidence that the person selling, furnishing, or serving alcoholic beverages had been furnished with and acted in reliance on identification as defined in subsection (d) of Code Section 3-3-23 showing that the person to whom the alcoholic beverages were sold, furnished, or served was 21 years of age or older shall constitute rebuttable proof that the alcoholic beverages were not sold, furnished, or served willfully, knowingly, and unlawfully.
(d) No person who owns, leases, or otherwise lawfully occupies a premises, except a premises licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages, shall be liable to any person who consumes alcoholic beverages on the premises in the absence of and without the consent of the owner, lessee, or lawful occupant or to any other person, or to the estate or survivors of either, for any injury or death suffered on or off the premises, including damage to property, caused by the intoxication of the person who consumed the alcoholic beverages.
O.C.G.A. § 51-1-40.
One of the ongoing concerns that we have had is whether a convenience store can be held liable for the sale of alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person that is not going permitted to consume alcohol on the premises. This Georgia Court of Appeals had stated that convenience stores may be held liable under the DRAM Shop Act:
We granted a writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals in Flores v. Exprezit! Stores 98–Georgia, 304 Ga.App. 333, 696 S.E.2d 125 (2010), to determine whether Georgia’s dram shop act, OCGA § 51–1–40,1 applies when a convenience store sells closed or packaged containers of alcohol not intended for consumption on the premises to a noticeably intoxicated adult. We hold that it does and reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
Flores v. Exprezit! Stores 98-Georgia, LLC., 289 Ga. 466, 466, 713 S.E.2d 368, 369 (2011).
If you or someone that you love has been injured in an automobile accident in Macon by a person that was obviously intoxicated, allow us to investigate your case to determine whether the person was over-served prior to the accident. Call the Sessions Law Firm, LLC now at (478) 254-2665.