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Missouri Dram Shop Laws

Dram Shop liability and the related laws came out of Great Britain and provided liability to the person or the commercial establishment that served alcohol to an individual who was later involved in an accident. If the proximate cause, or the reason that the accident occurred, was determined to be the alcohol, then the server or establishment would be held liable.

Missouri does not have dram shop laws.  However, the state of Missouri has made some exceptions regarding dram shop liability to allow people injured by being over served alcohol to recover in certain circumstances.  The law in the state of Missouri is set out in revised section 537.053 and provides three basic exceptions to dram shop law allowing a person to sue the person that furnished alcoholic beverages that lead to injury.

The original meaning of dram shop was that the bar was the proximate cause of injuries.  In common law, you could sue if a bar served you alcohol and then injury was caused to someone else because of your negligence while driving, or whatever the case may be.  In Missouri, you are able to sue a bar under three circumstances.  The first is if you can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the seller knew or should have known that intoxicating liquor was served to a person under the age of 21 years or knowingly served liquor to a visibly intoxicated person (537.053.2).

The second is if a person is “visibly intoxicated” and inebriated to such an extent that impairment is shown by their uncoordinated physical actions or physical dysfunction, there may be liability for the person that served them alcohol.  Some examples of visible intoxication as identified by Courts in Missouri are slurred speech, loud swearing, watery eyes and stumbling.

Missouri law specifically excludes liability for the bar when the bar serves a person so much alcohol that they die because of the intoxication, unless the person is under the age of 21 years old. This is for bars that serve people on their premises.

If you or your loved one have been involved in an accident with a drunken driver, or if there is a fatality that arises because of a bar serving a visibly intoxicated person alcohol, please contact us.  We have successfully pursued cases against those over served, and the over servers.  Burger will get the necessary toxicology reports, medical records, field sobriety tests and interviews to help with your case.

If you have a question about the sale of alcoholic beverages which later causes injury, or any other question regarding dram shop liability please call Gary Burger at (314) 542-2222 to answer your questions.

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