Cohen & Sinowski
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Georgia’s Dram Shop Rule: Holding Bars Liable for Car Accidents Caused by Intoxicated Drivers

  • Published: April 6, 2023

Dram Shop Laws

Welcome to a world where the vibrant nightlife of Atlanta collides with the legal intricacies that protect its patrons. In today’s post, we’ll delve into the Dram Shop Rule and how it impacts both Peach State partygoers and establishments serving alcohol. As you grab your favorite cocktail or sweet tea, join us in unraveling the complexities of this fascinating law, and discover how it shapes the experiences of those who revel in Georgia’s lively social scene. So sit back, sip, and let’s explore the ins and outs of Georgia’s Dram Shop Rule together.

What is the Dram Shop Rule?

The Dram Shop Rule is a legal doctrine that holds establishments that sell alcoholic beverages liable for any injuries or damages caused by their intoxicated patrons. The rule encourages bars and restaurants to discourage over-serving, as well as serving underage people alcohol. It also encourages establishments to be more careful about who they serve, since they can be held liable if they serve alcohol to a patron who is noticeably intoxicated and that patron subsequently causes harm to another person or property.

The Law in Georgia

The law in Georgia is codified in O.C.G.A. § 51-1-40, which states that “a person who sells, furnishes or serves alcoholic beverages to a person of lawful drinking age shall not thereby become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such person except for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the sale, furnishing or serving of alcoholic beverages to a person who is in a state of noticeable intoxication knowing that such person will soon be driving a motor vehicle” (emphasis added).

“Georgia’s Dram Shop Rule Holds Bar Liable for Injuries Caused by Intoxicated Patron in Downtown Savannah Car Wreck”

On a bustling Saturday night in downtown Savannah, Georgia, 25-year-old Jason visited his favorite local bar, The Tipsy Toucan, to unwind with some friends after a long week. As the evening wore on, Jason consumed several drinks, and it became apparent to the staff that he was visibly intoxicated. Despite this, the bartender continued to serve him alcohol.

At around 1 AM, Jason decided it was time to head home. He stumbled out of The Tipsy Toucan and got behind the wheel of his car. Just a few blocks away from the bar, Jason’s impaired state led him to run a red light, and he collided with another vehicle. The driver of that car, Sarah, suffered severe injuries, including broken bones and a concussion.

Sarah later learned that Jason had been heavily intoxicated and had just left The Tipsy Toucan before causing the accident. With the help of her experienced personal injury attorney, Sarah filed a lawsuit against both Jason and The Tipsy Toucan under Georgia’s Dram Shop Rule. In her suit, she claimed that the bar was liable for her injuries because they continued to serve alcohol to Jason despite his noticeable intoxication, knowing he would be driving home.

The lawsuit went to trial, and the court found that The Tipsy Toucan had indeed been negligent in over-serving Jason, making them partially responsible for the accident. As a result, both Jason and the bar were held liable for Sarah’s injuries, and she was awarded compensation to cover her medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

This example highlights the importance of establishments being aware of their responsibilities under the Dram Shop Rule and the potential legal and financial consequences of failing to comply. It also emphasizes the significance of seeking legal counsel if you have been injured by an intoxicated person in Georgia.

“Protect Your Rights: Seek Legal Counsel with Cohen & Sinowski”

In the aftermath of a car wreck involving an intoxicated driver, the emotional and financial burden can be overwhelming. It is crucial to have knowledgeable and experienced legal representation to navigate the complexities of Georgia’s Dram Shop Rule and ensure that justice is served. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident involving a drunk driver, don’t hesitate to reach out to Cohen & Sinowski. Our dedicated team, led by Thomas C. Sinowski, II, specializes in personal injury law and is committed to fighting for your rights. Contact us today at (404) 351-8888 or email to schedule a free consultation. Together, we can help you secure the compensation you deserve. Visit our website at to learn more about our services and how we can assist you in your time of need.



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