Did you know that victims of drunk driving accidents have the right to sue the business that served the alcohol to the drunk driver before the crash?

Well, they can in Michigan.

It is all because of the dram shop law.

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What Are DRAM Shop Laws?

42 states and the District of Columbia have dram shop laws. But what are dram shop laws?

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Buckfire Law says that,

"Dram shop laws exist in many states. The term “dram” comes from the historical method of measuring quantities of alcohol for sale.  Michigan has a specific dram shop statute used for lawsuits against bars, restaurants, and other establishments."

READ MORE: Sudden Dangerous Infection Outbreak in Michigan Sickens Dozens

Does Michigan Have Dram Shop Laws?

drunk man lying
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Michigan Legislature 436.1801 Section 801 states that,

"an individual who suffers damage or who is personally injured by a minor or visibly intoxicated person by reason of the unlawful selling, giving, or furnishing of alcoholic liquor to the minor or visibly intoxicated person, if the unlawful sale is proven to be a proximate cause of the damage, injury, or death, or the spouse, child, parent, or guardian of that individual, has a right of action in his or her name against the person who by selling, giving, or furnishing the alcoholic liquor has caused or contributed to the intoxication of the person or who has caused or contributed to the damage, injury, or death. In an action under this section, the plaintiff has the right to recover actual damages in a sum of not less than $50.00 in each case in which the court or jury determines that intoxication was a proximate cause of the damage, injury, or death."

In simpler terms, if a business sold alcohol to a minor a visibly drunk person and that person caused an accident that left injuries, death, or property damage, the business can be held liable.

If the civil claim succeeds, the injured party can collect compensatory damages or losses, including the following:

  • hospital bills or other medical expenses
  • the value of the damaged/destroyed property
  • lost wages and benefits
  • emotional distress
  • out-of-pocket cost
  • pain and suffering

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