Dram Shop Laws and Lawsuits Against Bars

Georgia Dram Shop Laws and Bar LawsuitsChristopher Simon Attorney at Law has successfully pursued a number of Atlanta bars for over serving drunk drivers who later caused serious crashes. The firm is proud to have closed these bars down using the State's Dram Shop laws. O.C.G.A. § 51-1-40

In Georgia, our legislature enacted a specific law that says that where a bar:

there is civil responsibility (legal liability).

This is harder to prove that most think and while it is relatively easy to show that someone would have exhibited signs of intoxication based on their blood alcohol level, the real fight begins in proving the establishment's knowledge that  the drinker will soon be driving.
Relevant evidence includes:

  • the location of the bar and access to cabs or public transit
  • familiarity of the bartender with the customer, do you know that Steve Smith drives home every time he comes?
  • visibility of the parking lot to the bouncer or bartenders. Could they see you arrive?
  • surveillance video.

Real Examples of Cases Against Bars:

Estate of Eddie Ko v. ABC Corporation:

Policy limits payout of $1,000,000 where two customers of the Korean restaurant left at 3:00 AM after being served 6 bottles of Soju. Witnesses testified the customers came in already having had 10 drinks apiece. They arrived in two separate cars and the cars struck each other prior to crossing into oncoming traffic and killing the innocent victim.

Doe Family v. Lost Dog Tavern in Conyers

Three family members severely injured by drunk driver. Proved in discovery that the bar had actual knowledge of other customers getting pulled for DUI after leaving their parking lot. Showed that the bartender and bouncer could see the parking lot to note how their customers arrived. Settled for a confidential amount after depositions showed that there was no TIPS training for the bartenders.

Examples of Appellate Rulings:

Shin v. Estate of Camacho

Civil suit for wrongful death of innocent driver hit by a man who got drunk at a house party. Discovery showed that the host cut the man off once it became apparent that he was drunk. The trial court threw the case out of Court on summary judgment finding there was no evidence of the first prong; serving someone who was visibly intoxicated. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 


In this case, the Georgia Supreme Court held that a convenience store that sold closed beer to a visibly drunk person can be sued for providing alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. Whether its fair to require the store owner to determine whether the buyer will drink it is still a question for the jury to resolve but if the driver is already clearly drunk, pulls up to the store and buys beer and goes back to his car, no jury would have trouble finding legal responsibility. 

Dram Shop cases are complex and involve issues far removed from typical car accident cases. In serious crashes, it makes sense to consult with a lawyer who knows the law in this field.

Client Reviews
My wife and I were hit by a tractor trailer in 2014. After extensive research online, we were deeply impressed with the various reviews we read on Google and Avvo and chose Chris to represent us. We could not have a made a better decision. Chris and his firm treated us like we were their only clients, soothed our worries, and instantly gained our trust. Chris settled both of our cases for more than we expected. James
A co-worker of my wife recommended Chris to us. At the very beginning Chris showed that he cared and his knowledge is priceless. Going through this process can be aggravating but Chris did a great job guiding me through this and was always available to answer my questions. Chris fought to get what I deserved even though at times I wanted to give up. Tracy
I want to express my deepest sense of gratitude and appreciation to Attorney Chris Simon & Attorney Chris Carsten, for all the hard work that they put forth into my case (car accident filed after being hit by drunk driver). Their attention to detail and professionalism far surpasses their firm's reputation. Because of their diligence and dedication to their craft, they were able to bring my case to a successful close, one that I could live with. You will not find a better team for your case. Should I have a need for their services again in the future, or know of anyone looking for a top notch Auto Accident Law Firm, I would not hesitate to recommend them!!!! Elle
Wow...Chris is a very good attorney. Me and my son was in a very bad car accident an I was clueless on how to handle the situation. It's very hard to find an attorney who allows you to contact them personally instead of you contacting their asst. I was told that I didn't have a case because the hosiptal put a lien on my acct. Chris prove different and I was able to file my case with the insurance company. The process was very quickly and Im glad I selected the right attorney..Thanks Chris A Car Accident client
Chris is a great lawyer and the most people friendly attorney I have ever delt with. He handled my case with great attention to detail and did so in a very short period of time. He is very consice, efficient, patient and understanding. He has a strong passion for what he does and he does it well. I recommend Chris Simon as legal representation for anyone who has suffreed damages or a loss at the negligence of others. He really cares about you and your case. A Car Accident client