Getting too drunk is not only bad for your health, but dangerous to those around you. Intoxicated individuals are a serious injury risk, bot to themselves and to those they may come in contact with. Whether it’s by driving while intoxicated or by starting a fist fight, an intoxicated person can cause bodily injury that they could be held accountable for. However, while they’re directly liable for their actions, is it possible for you to also go after the person or party responsible for putting them into their inebriated state?
These types of laws are called “dram shop” laws or “social host” ordinances and vary from state to state. On this blog, we’ll take a look at what Connecticut has to say about these situations and whether or not you can also choose to go after the establishment or party that got the person who injured you drunk in the first place.
Connecticut General Statutes Section 30-102
Connecticut’s dram shop laws can be found in our state’s General Statutes section 30-102, and state that a vendor could be held liable if they continue to give alcohol to a person who is already intoxicated. In this case, a “vendor” can mean a bar, restaurant, or any other establishment that serves alcohol. Unlike other states which have exceptions or are more relaxed for individuals who are of legal drinking age, Connecticut has no such laws.
What this means is essentially that a business that knows someone is intoxicated and still continues to serve them alcohol anyway could be liable for at least a portion of the damages that person causes because they failed to exercise good judgement and stop serving that individual. These businesses have a duty to keep track of who they’re serving and make good judgement calls in regards to when and when not to serve someone.
Here’s an example: a bar patron is becoming increasingly drunk, becoming loud, clearly slurring words, and stumbling around the establishment. However, the bar continues to serve the patron drinks. Finally, when they have finished their last drink, they get up and immediately stumble over, crashing into the patron next to them, causing them to fall off the stool and break their wrist when they impact the ground. In this instance, the patron who was injured could hold the bar liable for their injuries, including the recovery of medical bills, rehabilitation treatments, and lost income from the work they missed.
However, in order to win this case, they’ll have to show that the bar was negligent in their service to this individual, meaning their actions were “reckless” and “intentional.” If a bar gives someone a single, strong drink and it proceeds to have unintended strong consequences, the bar may be able to prove innocence in this regard since they were unaware that the drink would have such an effect.
Intoxication can lead to emotions running high, and when this tension boils over, fists may fly. Unfortunately, this can happen in bars, particularly crowded ones, and these situations are dangerous for everyone around. Believe it or not, bar owners could be held liable for injuries that are caused on their premises from these incidents, particularly if an innocent bystander suffers an injury in the process.
This is why so many establishments that are open during the nightlife hours often employ security teams. Security is constantly on the lookout for patrons who may be looking for trouble, and are often under instruction to immediately remove anybody who becomes a threat to anyone else’s safety, without exception.
Social Host Liability
Connecticut’s dram shop laws do not extend to those who serve alcohol at social events. For example, if you host a party at your house, you don’t share the same liability as an establishment would. This means your guests can’t hold you liable in the event they are injured because of alcohol you provided.
However, you are not absolved from liability if any of your party guests are under the age of 21 and become intoxicated. You’re required to make sure that all of your guests are of proper and legal drinking age if they wish to consume alcohol, and you could be held responsible if someone under the age of 21 is able to partake and become intoxicated themselves.Have you been injured because someone else’s intoxicated actions harmed you? Contact Fitzpatrick Mariano Santos Sousa, P.C. at (203) 583-8299 and let our Waterbury personal injury attorneys help you with a free consultation!