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Can a bar serve a person who has had to much to drink?

Goldsboro, NC |

dec 27, 2008 i had a single veh accident, after i had been drinking. i do not remember anything. but 2 people told me i was going into a club as they were leaving...and i seemed to have had tomuch to drink. the person with me at the time has told me i was drinking alot at the club. i am now disabilitied.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. No a bar cannot properly serve someone who has too much to drink, but that does not give the drinker a cause of action. You contributed to the ensuing course of events.

    The author of this post is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. This post is intended as general information only, and is not provided as legal advice in connection with any specific case, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  2. You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow your doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to your medical records. Photograph your injuries and the damage done to any vehicle or other property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing.

    An attorney licensed in your state can tell you whether or not you have a viable claim against the Bar for serving you while you may have been intoxicated and unable to appreciate what was going on. This is a difficult type of case and the potential outcome can vary by state, depending upon your state statutes and case law. Do not delay in seeking counsel.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to insure proper advice is received.


  3. Generally a bar is not liable if it over serves a patron, and the patron then injures himself.


  4. A bar should not serve persons that are visibly intoxicated and are going to drive. These bars must "cut them off" and not serve them. The real problem is your own actions may be considered contributory negligence. In North Carolina, if you negligently contribute to your own injuries, you can not recover. Driving while intoxicated is negligence. Some potential plaintiffs have argued that they were so drunk, they did not know what they were doing and so were not also negligent. These arguments don't work very well. Judges nor juries have much sympathy for this argument. In a nutshell, even if the bartender was negligent, you will be too and most likely can't recover.

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