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My daughter was killed by a drunk driver. The driver was already impaired when he walked into a Philadelphia sports bar. He ordered several more drinks and then drove away. No one tried to stop him from leaving. Can the sports bar be held liable for the drunk driving crash?


Perhaps. Under Pennsylvania’s dram shop law, a business or an individual who serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person can be held liable for any damage or injuries that person might cause.  Dram shop law also applies if the person who was served alcohol is a minor, “insane person,” or “habitual drunkard.”

The term “dram shop” comes from England. Dram shops were businesses that sold gin by the spoonful, or “dram.” Dram shop law applies both to businesses that serve alcohol and to individuals who host private events.

Pennsylvania dram shop law can be applied when the intoxicated individual assaults another person or causes property damage, but it is usually used when a drunk driver causes a serious accident.

In order to successfully file a PA dram shop claim, you must be able to show:

  1. An employee or individual served alcohol to a person was visibly intoxicated.
  2. The decision to serve alcohol to the intoxicated person directly led to the crash.


Dram shop lawsuits do not excuse the drunk driver from being responsible for his role in the crash. Filing a dram shop lawsuit does not prevent the victim or victim’s family from filing a lawsuit against the driver.

If you’d like more information about DUI wrongful death claims, please contact Mednick, Mezyk & Kredo, P.C., at 888-807-WORK (9675). We’ll schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.