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Alabama Dram Shop Laws: What You Need to Know

Summer has officially begun! With kids out of school, summer holidays and vacations, the next few months are usually a popular time for people to get married or entertain at their homes. These celebrations always seem to be a highlight of the summer; however, these parties could offer a few legal issues for the host or hostess if alcohol is provided.

Alabama is one of many states to have very strict liquor laws, which can be used to hold an individual responsible for providing alcohol to guests for free.

What is Alabama’s Dram Shop Law?  Because social hosts do not sell alcohol, they are not bound by the rules of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC Board). However, state law still requires social hosts to stop serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated guests. State law also prohibits social hosts from serving alcohol to minors.

For example, suppose a guest is driving home from a party where the host provided an open bar. The guest is 19 years old and has a valid Alabama driver license, but is not of legal drinking age. In this case, the host may still be liable for the guest’s injuries under the Alabama “Social Host” laws.

Consequences in Alabama Dram Shop Cases:  Alabama law allows those who bring a successful dram shop claim to obtain both “actual” and “exemplary” damages. In an instance like the above example, the injured third party might be able to recover actual damages for losses like:

– Medical costs for the treatment of injuries caused in the accident
– Lost wages, benefits, and other compensation, and costs of damaged property.
– Punitive or exemplary damages associated with willful and wanton misconduct.

Insurance Coverage in Dram Shop Cases:  Homeowner and renter policies provide personal liability protection for the consequences mentioned above. However, if you are hosting a party or a wedding somewhere other than your property, most venues will require liquor liability insurance that can be obtained by a special events policy (i.e. Wedding Insurance).

Additionally, if you entertain frequently, you may consider the purchase of a personal umbrella to provide protection in the case of a catastrophe occurring at your event. The premiums for these types of insurance are often as low as $150.00 per million of coverage and provides protection over your automobiles.

For more information about Dram Shop Laws, click here. If you would like to find out more information about liquor liability insurance for a wedding or private party you may be hosting, click here, or fill out one of our free, no obligation quote forms.

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