• What Casino Owners Should Know About New Jersey Dram Shop Law
  • September 3, 2015
  • Law Firm: Cooper Levenson P.A. - Atlantic City Office
  • When someone is injured as the result of a drunk person's negligence, the victim may choose to file a dram shop claim against the vendor that sold the alcohol. At Cooper Levenson Attorneys at Law, we know how New Jersey handles such claims and seek to help casino owners understand the laws.

    A typical dram shop claim might start with a person going to a casino and drinking. That person then walks through the establishment and falls down a set of stairs, injuring another guest. The injured guest may list both the intoxicated individual and the casino as defendants in a lawsuit.

    According to the state law, you may only file a lawsuit citing dram shop laws if the person who was drunk was visibly intoxicated when served or if the vendor either knew or should have known that the person was younger than 21. The law also extends the same protection to social hosts, which covers people who host parties or events that are typical at gaming facilities. If the host provides the alcohol and creates an unreasonable risk of harm, it is possible for that person to be held responsible under dram shop law.

    It is important to point out that New Jersey does not permit the person who was served the alcohol to file a dram shop claim. In the example above, if the person who fell down the stairs also suffered an injury, he or she would not be able to bring a suit against the casino.

    Common defenses to dram shop claims include that the establishment was not aware that a guest was intoxicated. A casino could also provide evidence that its staff members diligently check for age identification before serving a guest alcohol. For more information on this topic, please visit our page on gaming defense.