Dram shop laws allow an injured person to bring a legal cause of action against a bar or tavern if they contribute to a person’s intoxication and that person then hurts someone else. Under Missouri statute 537.053, a Missouri personal injury lawyer must prove by clear and convincing evidence a bar or tavern knew or should have known that intoxicating liquor was served to a person under the age of twenty-one years or knowingly served to a person who is visibly intoxicated. Any Missouri injury lawyer handling a case involving an intoxicated defendant must analyze the facts to see if a dram shop claim can be asserted.
Under common law, bars and taverns were not held responsible for personal injury caused by drunk people because the supply of alcohol was not seen as the proximate cause of the victim’s injuries. Missouri created statutory liability for bars and taverns to avoid this harsh result and to ensure bar owners act responsibly in serving liquor. Missouri law provides an exception to the common law rule by allowing a cause of action against any person licensed to sell intoxicating liquor by the drink for consumption on the premises if the seller knew or should have known that intoxicating liquor was served to a person under twenty-one years of age or knowingly served intoxicating liquor to a visibly intoxicated person.”
Missouri statute 537.053 specifically provides that liability only exists against a person licensed to sell intoxicating liquor by the drink for consumption on the premises. This means there are no dram shop claims allowed against a seller of package liquor, even if the sale is to a minor. Because of this distinction, liquor stores, gas stations and grocery stores are not subject to Missouri’s dram shop law.
If you or your loved one has suffered personal injuries because of a drunk person in an a Missouri truck accident, car accident or motorcycle accident, you need to consult with a local attorney who knows about Missouri personal injury statute of limitations and can determine whether you have a dram shop claim.