Bar and Tavern Negligence – Dram Shop Acts of New York and New Jersey

Both New Jersey and New York have laws in place to protect the rights of people who suffer losses as a result of the negligent service of alcoholic beverages by bars while at the same time providing a reasonable procedure for allocating responsibility for such losses.  New Jersey has the “Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Fair Liability Act” and New York has the General Obligations Law §11-101 Compensation for injury caused by the illegal sale of intoxicating liquor” and Alcoholic Beverage Control Law § 65(2) Prohibited sales.”  Both States’ laws are commonly referred to as Dram Shop Acts.

The laws of both states are very similar in that they provide that the bar is only liable if the plaintiff can prove that the bar served a visibly intoxicated person.  In both New Jersey and New York, eye witness testimony is not necessary and plaintiffs can use expert testimony about blood alcohol content as evidence for the jury to consider in deciding whether the person was visibly intoxicated.

Even if a bar is located in New York and a resulting accident took place in New York, that does not necessarily mean that a New Jersey resident, who has suffered harm as a result of a bar’s negligence, has to file a lawsuit in New York.  There are various factors that a New Jersey resident must consider in deciding if and where to file a Dram Shop lawsuit caused by a New York bar’s negligence.

It is important to contact attorneys experienced in both New York and New Jersey law. The lawyers at the Union County, New Jersey law firm of Mintz & Geftic LLC have experience in both New York and New Jersey.