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Understanding Michigan's Dram Shop Laws

According to Michigan’s dram shop laws, which are explained in the Compiled Laws section 436.1801, vendors can be held responsible for alcohol-related accidents if the action of the vendor (bar, restaurant, shop, or other seller) providing the alcoholic product was a foreseeable cause of the injuries suffered. However, the vendor’s liability is not automatic. Before a vendor can be deemed liable for an accident, it must be proven that the vendor provided alcohol to a person who was visibly intoxicated or under the age of 21 years old.

To help you understand how this Michigan law works, we have provided an example below:

Lucy stops at the local bar to enjoy a few drinks. Although Lucy begins to slur her speech, is unable to stand up, and exhibits other signs of heavy intoxication, the bartender continues to provide her with beverages. Finally, Lucy leaves the bar. When leaving the bar, Lucy hits a pedestrian who sustains serious injuries as a result.

Now, the pedestrian may decide to bring an injury claim against Lucy for the injuries he has sustained on the theory that Lucy acted negligently and did not exercise reasonable care. However, under the Michigan dram shop laws, the pedestrian can file a dram shop claim against the local bar for serving alcoholic beverages to Lucy after she was visibly intoxicated.

If Lucy was under the age of 21, the pedestrian would not have to prove that Lucy was visibly intoxicated at the time of the accident since her age satisfies the dram shop law claim alone.

Similar to most civil cases, damages that are acquired as a result of dram shop claims are intended to compensate for various types of harm and loss resulting from alcohol-related accidents and injuries.The most common types of damages include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distresses

If you have sustained injuries in an accident caused by a drunk driver, it is important you contact our Detroit car accident lawyers at Goodman Acker P.C. right away. When you get in touch with our team, we will examine the details of your case and hold the liable party responsible or your injuries.

Discuss your case today by calling our Detroit car accident attorneys now.