Are Liquor Vendors Liable for Drunk Driving Accidents?

Louisiana Law on Liquor Vendor Liability

Under Louisiana law, “the consumption of intoxicating beverages, rather than the sale or serving or furnishing of such beverages” is the legal cause of injury that results from the actions of an intoxicated person. This law differs from many jurisdictions which implement what are called “dram shop laws,” recognizing that liquor vendors may be liable for injuries caused by an intoxicated patron to whom the vendor sold alcohol.

However, Louisiana courts have left the door open to holding liquor vendors liable for serving minors alcoholic beverages. In Berg vs. Zummo, the Louisiana Supreme Court held that the immunities carved out under Section 9:2800.1 did not extend to vendors who sold or furnished alcohol to persons under the legal age for purchasing alcohol.

The Court reasoned that when an underage person hosts a party that offers alcohol to their underage guests, the duty-risk principles of negligence apply, even though Section 9:2800.1 also grants immunity to social hosts for injuries caused by intoxicated persons. The Court justified restricting immunity granted under the statute in accordance with Louisiana’s public policy against exposing minors to intoxicating beverages, especially when driving an automobile.

As a result, the Louisiana Supreme Court concluded that liquor vendors have “a duty to refrain from selling or serving alcohol to minors” and that they will be liable for injuries caused by an underage drunk patron. Thus, the answer to the question “are liquor vendors liable for drunk driving accidents?” is: No, unless the driver who caused the accident was under the legal drinking age and the vendor contributed to their intoxication.

Find a Skilled New Orleans Car Accident Attorney

If a drunk driver caused an accident, injuring you or a loved one, you might be entitled to receive compensation for such injuries. For legal advice about your right to recover damages for your injuries, you should consult an experienced New Orleans car accident attorney from the The Womac Law Firm. We have proudly served Louisiana residents for over 30 years, fighting for their right to hold accountable those who negligently caused injury.

For more information about your legal options, call The Womac Law Firm at (504) 486-9999 or contact us online today for a free consultation.

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