Most of us like to enjoy a little holiday “cheer,” whether it’s at an office party, the home of a friend or our favorite watering hole. Unfortunately, too many people have a little too much of the Christmas spirits, get behind the wheel of a car, and cause accidents. If you’ve been hurt by a drunk driver during the holiday season, can you seek damages from the person or establishment that provided the alcohol?
The New Jersey laws that govern potential liability for accidents caused by intoxicated persons are known alternatively as “dram shop” laws (when applied to business establishments) or “social host liability” laws (when the alcohol was served at a private party or by a private individual).
Under the state’s dram shop laws, there are two specific situations where a person injured by an impaired/intoxicated individual may seek compensation from the bar, tavern, restaurant or other business the provided the alcohol:
For a social host to be liable in New Jersey, the injured person must one of the following:
If the person causing the accident has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of less than .10%, there is an irrebuttable presumption that he or she was not visibly intoxicated. If the BAC is between .10% and .15%, the presumption becomes rebuttable.
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