What are Dram-Shop Laws?
Drunk drivers who cause personal injury to others are almost without question negligent and liable for their actions. After all, when someone who has been drinking gets behind the wheel of an automobile, their reckless behavior and poor judgment immediately puts others at risk. However, they may not be the only ones at fault for putting others in serious potential danger, and the bar that served the guilty party maybe liable as well for creating the risk to begin with.
Dram-shop statutes are laws that attempt to define what actions or conditions a bar must meet in order to be considered partially liable in the event that one of their customers later injures another person while intoxicated. Dram-shop statutes differ from state to state; for example, while some states' dram-shop statutes give bars immunity and make it extremely tough for an injured victim to impose liability on the bar responsible for serving the drunk driver, other states' dram-shop statutes require their bars to act extremely responsible and in the event that an injury occurs, will hold them liable.
Arizona's dram-shop laws seem to fall somewhere in the middle. While protecting social hosts (folks that serve alcohol to friends in their home) from liability the state's laws don't allow the bars to shield themselves with a protective immunity, but also don't require that the bar be so responsible that proving liability against the bar will be as easy as proving liability against the driver himself. Specifically, the state of Arizona provides that bars will be liable if it can be proven that the bar over-served alcohol to a customer that was visibly intoxicated. Although it is ultimately an individual's responsibility to make sound choices that won't put others at risk, Arizona's dram-shop statutes discourage bars from promoting the bad choices of those who decide to act irresponsibly, and instead encourage them to run a sound business that prevents the potential injuries that can and often occur from over-serving.