The answer to the question of whether you or a loved one injured or killed by a drunk driver can file a lawsuit against a bar in Ohio because the establishment overserved the patron in question is “it depends” under Ohio law. The Ohio State Highway Patrol has accumulated some very concerning data on the state of Ohio’s roads.
According to these numbers, drunk driving is directly responsible for over half of all road deaths in the state of Ohio. Many states have implemented “dram shop” regulations to combat this unfortunate fact. An older name for a bar or tavern, “dram shop” has a more evocative ring to it. The intent of these statutes is to make bars liable for injuries sustained by intoxicated customers.
Dram Shop Liability in Ohio: Proving Liability
Remember that the great majority of business owners in the hospitality industry are upstanding people who are not the intended targets of Ohio’s dram shop liability laws. Dram Shop legislation in Ohio instead seeks to penalize establishments with a history of serving intoxicated customers who then cause car accidents in Toledo as a result of their actions. The statute in question is included in section 4399.18 of the Ohio Revised Code, and it initially differentiates between two scenarios depending on the site of the damage (On-Premises or Off Premises).
Liquor licensees can be held accountable for injuries sustained by patrons on the premises or in the parking lot if it can be proven that the licensee’s carelessness directly resulted in the victim’s harm. The circumstances surrounding the incident, such as the licensee’s choice to disregard a known danger, can sometimes provide evidence of this. Conversely, a plaintiff must prove the following in order to obtain compensation for an accident or death that occurred away from the premises:
1. That the permit holder or an employee of the permit holder intentionally sold an alcoholic beverage to at least one of the following:
- An obviously drunk individual in violation of sub. (B)of section 4301.22 of the Revised Code; or
- a minor in contravention of Ohio Revised Code 4301.69.
2. That the drunken individual’s drunkenness was a contributing factor in the harm that was done
In what circumstances does one qualify as a “Visibly Intoxicated Person?”
When dealing with cases of personal injury caused by intoxicated drivers, this concept is among the most hotly contested. Nonetheless, Ohio law provides some insight into this mystery.