Liquor Liability Attorney

Bartender pouring drinks

Establishments serving alcohol and individuals who consume alcohol both have responsibilities. Not only should a person be aware of how much he or she is drinking for his or her own wellbeing, but those serving alcohol for profit must also be aware of and responsible for the safety of others, especially those on the road.

The Legal Limit

A driver is considered to be alcohol-impaired when his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. Based on National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) data for 2009, 10,839 people lost their lives in accidents involving a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher, which amounted to 32 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities for the year.

Liquor Liability Act

The Purpose

Section 3-14-2 of the Rhode Island Liquor Liability Act states that its purpose is to “prevent intoxication-related injuries, deaths and other damages among Rhode Island’s population.” This legislation allows individuals who suffer damages as a result of intoxication-related incidents obtain compensation. The Act provides motivation for all servers of alcohol to do so responsibly and with due care.  It provides a statutory road to recovery for those injured due to careless or reckless behavior of those serving alcohol.

Liability for Negligent Service of Liquor

Section 3-14-6 states that any person or entity can be held liable for damages for being negligent in serving liquor to:

  • a minor (an individual under the age of 21);
  • a visibly intoxicated person; and
  • a minor or an intoxicated individual, if the serving person or entity knew, or if a reasonable and careful person in a similar situation would know, that the individual being served is a minor or visibly intoxicated.

Negligence is also characterized by the proof of serving alcoholic beverages to an individual under 21 years of age without asking for proper identification. It is server’s responsibility to identify a visibly intoxicated person as any reasonable and careful individual would.

Liability for Reckless Service of Liquor

Section 3-14-7 states that liability for the reckless service of liquor is considered to occur when a person or entity:

  • actively encourages intoxicated individuals to consume significant amounts of liquor;
  • serves liquor to a person who is under 21 years of age when having actual or practical knowledge of the person’s age; and
  • serves liquor to a person in such an extreme and consistent manner that it creates a significant risk of death by alcohol poisoning.

Committed to Justice

Those engaging in irresponsible conduct at an establishment that serves alcohol—and drunk drivers—must be held accountable for damages associated with accidents, injuries, and fatalities that result from such conduct. At Marasco & Nesselbush, Rhode Island’s trusted personal injury law firm, our attorneys are committed to personal, economic, and social justice. In our many years of experience, we have obtained numerous successful jury verdicts and settlements for our clients injured by the negligence of others. We have successfully resolved many liquor liability cases. To learn more about how we can achieve extraordinary legal results, please fill out the free case evaluation form on this page, or call us today at 401-274-7400 for a free consultation. We have offices conveniently located in Warwick, Wakefield, Woonsocket, and Providence and are here to help you.