Can a Bar or Bartender Be Liable for a DUI Accident?

Madeleine Jones
July 19, 2019

If you suffered injuries in an accident due to a drunk driver, you may know you can hold the driver liable for your damages in a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. In some states, you can hold the bar or bartender who served the at-fault driver alcohol liable in your claim as well. However, Nevada limits your ability to hold alcohol vendors responsible due to its limited dram shop laws.

What Are Dram Shop Laws?

All states in the United States have dram shop laws, which govern a person’s ability to file a lawsuit against a bar, restaurant, tavern, or another alcohol vendor. If the establishment in question sells alcohol to an intoxicated person who causes injury to the claimant, dram shop laws allow the claimant to hold the establishment liable in his or her lawsuit.

For example, say that someone goes out for a night of drinking at a local bar. When he or she is driving home, he or she collides into another vehicle and causes significant injuries to the other driver. That driver can file a lawsuit against the drunk driver and a dram shop claim against the local bar for his or her damages. While many states have these types of dram shop laws in place, Nevada is an exception.

Limited Dram Shop Laws in Nevada

Under Nevada state law, if you are in an accident with a drunk driver, you cannot file a dram shop claim against the bar, restaurant, or alcohol-serving establishment that served the alcohol to the drunk driver. However, this rule is only in place if the drunk driver is 21 years or older at the time of the accident.

If the establishment served alcohol to a minor under the age of 21 and that minor caused the drunk driving accident that led to your injuries, you can file a dram shop claim. For example, say that a 19-year-old leaves a bar in Las Vegas and drives home. You are driving home at the same time, and the minor crashes into you. Not only can you file a claim against the drunk driver, but you can also file a claim against the bar that served the minor alcohol.

Potential Damages in a Nevada Dram Shop Claim

To file a dram shop claim against a bar or other alcohol vendor in Nevada, you will have to ensure that you file your claim within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations refers to the time limit in which you have to file your dram shop claim. In Nevada, you have two years from the date of the drunk driving accident to file your dram shop claim.

You can claim many different types of damages in a dram shop claim, depending on the extent of your injuries and the circumstances of your accident. The following damages are some of the most common types of compensation you could receive in a drunk driving case.

  • Medical expenses for past and future treatment, including medication, surgeries, and hospitalizations
  • Lost wages due to recovery time
  • Damage to your property and possessions
  • Funeral and burial expenses in the event of death
  • Pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and other emotional damages you incurred as a result of the accident

Hiring an Attorney for Your DUI Accident Claim

Regardless of whether the drunk driver who caused your accident was under the age of 21 or not, you can still collect compensation for your DUI accident claim. If you are holding a minor responsible, you can file a claim against him or her and the alcohol vendor responsible for his or her intoxication. In any circumstance involving a DUI accident, you need an attorney who can represent your claim.

Hiring an attorney for your DUI accident claim can help you determine whether you can file a dram shop claim. In addition, your attorney can guide you through the complex litigation processes for drunk driving and dram shop claims while you are in recovery. As soon as possible following your accident, contact a Las Vegas drunk driving accident attorney to learn more about your legal options.