Injured in a drunk driving accident in Missouri? You may be eligible for significant financial compensation. Some victims may be able to file a dram shop lawsuit.
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If you or a loved one were injured in a DUI accident, Missouri's dram shop law may be able to help. In Missouri, some bars, restaurants and nightclubs can be held accountable for illegal alcohol service, in the event that a patron goes on to cause an accident or start a fight.
Missouri Dram Shop Laws
In Missouri, dram shop liability comes off the back of a violation of the State's liquor code. In order to secure compensation, injury victims will have to prove that the bar, restaurant or nightclub illegally served a patron, then connect the illegal alcohol service to an intoxication-related accident or crime, like a DUI accident.
What "Visible Intoxication" Looks Like
There's only one violation mentioned in Missouri's dram shop law: serving someone who is also visibly intoxicated. A visibly intoxicated person is one who displays "significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction," according to Missouri state law.
If that patron goes on to cause an accident, injury victims and their loved ones may be able to pursue compensation from the licensed establishment.
"On Premises" & Social Host Liability
Dram shop liability in Missouri only extends to establishments that are licensed to serve alcohol on-premises. Most liquor stores, thus, can't be held liable for selling alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated.
Nor does dram shop liability cover social hosts, people who serve or make available alcohol at private parties. Social hosts can not be held accountable for the drunken actions of their guests.
Higher Standard Of Proof
Missouri also imposes a more rigorous standard of proof in dram shop lawsuits. Most civil cases in the State must be proven by a "preponderance" of the evidence, which is basically 50%. If you can show that 51% of the evidence says the jury should someone liable, you've done your job.
Dram shop lawsuits, though, must be proven by "clear and convincing" evidence. That's a lower standard than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" necessary in criminal cases, but it's higher than "preponderance."
Statute Of Limitations For Dram Shop Claims
Like all other lawsuits in Missouri, dram shop claims are governed by a strict statute of limitations. This law serves as a legal time limit; you cannot file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has run out. The statute for dram shop lawsuits in Missouri is currently 5 years, beginning on the date of injury.