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Suing a Bar or Restaurant Under the Dram Shop Act in New Jersey

September 21, 2017

In New Jersey, licensed bars, restaurants, and other establishments that serve alcohol to patrons can be held responsible for the negligent service of alcoholic beverages pursuant to the Dram Shop Act.


The Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Fair Liability Act (N.J.S.A. 2A:22A-5) in New Jersey is intended “to protect the rights of persons who suffer loss as a result of the negligent service of alcoholic beverages by a licensed alcoholic beverage server….”N.J.S.A. 2A:22A-2.

If you are injured or sustained property damage as a result of negligent service of alcoholic beverages, you may file a lawsuit against the server, the bar/establishment, and other responsible parties, if you can prove three conditions:


1.  The server must be considered negligent. This can be shown in one of two ways. One such way requires the establishment serve a visibly intoxicated person. The intoxicated person must display some symptom of intoxication: stumbling, slurred speech, etc. The intoxicated patron must be noticeably drunk to the server/bartender.  Even if one admits they were drunk after the fact, this alone will not create liability for the establishment.   The other way to show negligent service is to demonstrate negligent service when the establishment serves alcohol to a minor. The minor who causes an injury does not need to be considered drunk in order to impose liability under the statute.


2. The negligent service of alcohol must be the proximate cause of your damage or injury.  If an individual has a few alcoholic beverages and causes some type of damage, there must be some causal connection between the negligent service of the alcohol and your damage or injury.


3. The injury or damage must be a “foreseeable consequence of the negligent serving of alcoholic beverages.” Generally speaking, it would not be considered a high element to satisfy  because the occasional assault by an intoxicated individual is a foreseeable consequence of serving alcohol.


There are instances where liability can extend beyond assaults, such as, the intoxicated patron’s negligent operation of his motor vehicle after leaving the bar/tavern/restaurant that served him the alcohol; which could be considered a “normal incident of the risk the bar/tavern created, or an event that they could have reasonably foreseen.


Another instance where liability can extend beyond assaults is injury to oneself.  Injuries occurring to oneself may be foreseeable and potentially create liability for an establishment, as well.



 If you believe you may have suffered an injury as a result of the negligent service of alcohol, it is important you contact an experienced, personal injury attorney.


Call us now at the Law Office of Pamela Anevski for your free, private consultation at

(908) 255-0483.


Disclaimer:  The information contained in this Online Blog is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from this site, clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient's state. The content of this Blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. The Law Office of Pamela Anevski expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this Blog.


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