Alcohol and Bama Law

Jan 15, 2018 | Allen A. Ritchie


I had a friend and his daughter was just starting a new job. Part of that job is serving drinks. He wanted to know if his daughter was liable if a customer got drunk and hurt someone, for example in a car crash.

Here is the answer. YES.

Now, I help people hurt in car accidents all the time. If drinking is involved, you can, in our state, sue the person who provided the alcohol. Don’t think that is just a bar. You are just as responsible if you serve friends at your next cookout.

When it is a business, we call that vendor liability. When it is an individual, we call it social host liability. Here is the bottom line in both instances: stop serving drunk people and don’t serve anyone who is underage. Failure to do so could negatively impact your life forever.

This is what we call dram shop law. If you want to read the actual statute, go to Alabama Code Section 6-5-71.

Now a young waitress is unlikely to be individually sued, especially if she doesn’t have much money, but the place she works is very likely to see a lawsuit. Just as you are if someone leaves your party and gets hurt.

It happens more often than you may think. I would not be surprised to find parents sitting in my office this week, trying to get the money they need to get their child well after being hurt to someone who was drinking. It is perhaps the most emotional type of case I see.

If you are hurt in a traffic accident, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet.

Also join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30 right after the news. We will take your calls live.