A person who is injured in an accident caused by the negligence of a drunk driver might immediately look toward the driver for compensation. Depending upon the circumstances and facts surrounding an accident, liability might also exist on the part of the person who sold the alcohol to the drunk driver under Ohio dram shop laws. Dram shop laws get their name from shops that sold gin for the consumption of their patrons in England during the 1700s.
Bar owners and retailers of alcoholic beverages might be liable for the medical expenses and other damages suffered by a victim injured in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver. Ohio law may impose liability on the seller of alcohol if the victim proves two things: one, that the bar or retail store owner or an employee of one of them sold an alcoholic beverage to a person who was either noticeably intoxicated or underage and two, the intoxication of the person to whom the alcohol was sold was the proximate cause of the drunk driving accident.
Issues arising under the dram shop law in Ohio are complex, and the law may not extend liability to everyone connected with the sale of the alcohol. For example, it does not grant a victim the right to sue the owner of a building occupied by the defendant bar or retail establishment unless the building owner also owns the bar or store.
The facts and circumstances of each individual case can affect an individual's right to seek compensation under the statute. Information about an accident victim's rights if hit by a drunk driver should only be sought from a personal injury attorney qualified to offer guidance and advice on the subject.