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Missouri’s Dram Shop Law and Liability in Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving is a significant issue in the state of Missouri, accounting for up to 21% of traffic fatalities. While a majority of these accidents could have been easily avoided if the intoxicated drivers chose not to get behind the wheel, under Missouri law, liability for these incidents may not always rest squarely on the shoulders of intoxicated drivers. For example, under Missouri’s Dram Shop Law, bars can be held partially responsible for drunk driving accidents if they serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated.  

Missouri’s Dram Shop Law

Missouri’s Dram Shop Law is a state law that makes it possible for establishments that serve visibly intoxicated customers to be held liable for any damages that result from the customer’s impaired driving.

While Dram Shop laws vary from state to state, they generally allow victims injured in drunk driving accidents to sue the establishment that served alcohol to the driver. This can include bars, restaurants, liquor stores, and private parties where alcohol is served.

However, in order to hold an establishment liable under the Dram Shop Law in Missouri, you must be able to prove the following:

  • A Missouri bar, restaurant, or other establishment served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron, or someone under the legal drinking age of 21.   
  • The patron’s intoxication was the cause of an accident.
  • You suffered damages as a result of the accident.

In order to establish that the driver was “visibly intoxicated”, you must prove that the bar knew or should have known the patron was intoxicated before serving them alcohol. Types of evidence you need to prove liability in a dram shop case in Missouri include statements from witnesses or the drunk driver, physical evidence like bar receipts and credit card records, and blood alcohol tests to establish the extent to which the drunk driver was intoxicated.

Defenses Against Missouri’s Dram Shop Law

That said, a bar can still not be held liable for a variety of reasons. These include: 

  • If the bar can prove that it did not serve the person alcohol, or that the person was not visibly intoxicated.    
  • If another patron purchased the drink and the bar had no reasonable way of knowing who it was for.
  • If the accident was caused by a third party who was not drinking at the bar, or if there was some other factor that caused the incident. 

Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers at McShane & Brady Today

In order to schedule a free consultation with our car accident lawyers in Kansas City, MO, contact McShane & Brady or fill out the contact form on our website today. Our team will be able to get back to you within one business day.

McShane & Brady is a Kansas City law firm that represents those who have been injured due to the negligence of others. We have successfully represented many car accident victims over the years, winning millions in settlements. If you or a loved one have been injured and are seeking compassionate, experienced attorneys with a proven track record of success, call us at 816-888-8010.