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Liability for Selling Alcohol to Minors

Establishments that sell alcohol, including bars, restaurants, and liquor stores, are prohibited from selling those products to minors. People working for these liquor-selling establishments must ensure customers purchasing alcohol are over the age of 21 by checking IDs. If they fail to do so and sell alcohol to a minor who they know is getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, they may not only face criminal penalties, but they may also be liable for injuries to others arising from an accident.

Minors Driving While Intoxicated

In Georgia and the entire country, driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) are leading causes of car accidents. People who are driving while drunk are 90% more likely than sober drivers to cause accidents that result in serious bodily injuries and death. Drivers under the age of 21 are also much more likely to cause accidents based on their inexperience behind the wheel.

Combine alcohol and inexperience, and the chances of an intoxicated minor causing a car accident become extremely high. If a liquor store, bar, or restaurant sells alcohol to a minor knowing he or she is going to drive a car, under Georgia law, the establishment may be held liable for injuries incurred in a resulting car accident.

Dram Shop Claims Against Establishments Selling to Minors

A personal injury claim based on selling alcohol to a minor is commonly known as a “dram shop” claim. Liability may be imposed on the liquor-selling establishment even if the intoxicated minor was sober at the time of the sale, as long as 1) the minor was intoxicated at the time of the car accident and 2) the establishment knew the minor would be driving.

In order for a Georgia dram shop claim to be successful, you need to show the establishment sold alcohol to a minor who did not have ID, or without asking for ID, and the person selling the alcohol knew the minor would be driving a car. For example, if a bar serves a minor alcohol without asking for ID, and a bartender or bouncer saw the minor pull into the parking lot, the establishment may be liable if you are hurt in a car accident with the minor after he or she leaves the bar.

A social host can also be held liable to providing alcohol to minors whom they know will be driving after being served.  Even though the host of a party is not selling alcohol to the minor, Georgia law imposes liability on any person who furnishes or serves alcohol to a minor who then causes an accident resulting in injuries.   A social host must, therefore, take action to prevent an intoxicated guest from driving, even in situation where the event has a self-serve bar arrangement.   

Contact Us for Help after Being Involved in a Car Accident with a Minor

If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident with a minor and you believe he or she was under the influence of alcohol, contact the Georgia personal injury lawyers at Katz Wright Fleming & Dodson, LLC to make sure you access all of your opportunities for compensation. Call us at 404-460-0101 for a free initial consultation.

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I was in a head-on collision last year that put me in a wheelchair with a fractured femur. I needed an attorney and my cousin recommended this firm because he had used Briant Mildenhall for his accident. I was glad I called Briant because he always did what he said he would do and kept me informed. We settled with the insurance company and I'm happy with the result. If someone I know needs an attorney, I will tell them to call Briant because he will get the job done. Michael G.
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