Intoxicated Driver

In every U.S. state, a person who is injured by the actions of an intoxicated individual may choose to bring a personal injury claim directly against the wrongdoer. In several states, including Pennsylvania, the injured person may also bring a civil claim against a vendor who supplied alcohol to the person who caused the injury. These claims are known as “Dram Shop” claims. The name “dram shop” derives from the fact that alcohol was traditionally sold by a unit of measure called a “dram.”


The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has specific laws dealing with lawsuits against businesses that sell alcohol to the public when that sale results in the personal injury, death, or property damage to another. This law is commonly known as the Dram Shop Act.  

                                   PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CODE

The Pennsylvania Liquor Code, Section 4-493(1), provides the basis for imposing liability for negligent service of alcohol by liquor licensees. Section 4-493.1 of the Liquor Code provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

“It shall be unlawful:

(1) For any licensee or the board, or any employee, servant or agent of such licensee or the board, or any other person, to sell, furnish or give any liquor or malted or brewed beverages, or to permit any liquor or malted or brewed beverages to be sold, furnished or given, to any person visibly intoxicated, or to any insane person, or to any minor, or to habitual drunkards, or persons of known untempered habits.

(2) Section 47 P.S. 4-497 provides as follows: “No licensee shall be liable to third persons on account of damages inflicted upon them off the licensed premises by customers of the licensee unless the customer who inflicts the damages was sold, furnished or given liquor or malted or brewed beverages by the said licensee or his agent, servant or employee when the said customer was visibly intoxicated.”


Personal Insurance Protection Benefits in Pennsylvania

As a general rule, any person injured in a motor vehicle accident in Pennsylvania is entitled to receive Personal Insurance Protection (PIP) benefits, which are provided by the individual’s own automobile insurance carrier, regardless of fault in the accident. Because PIP benefits are not allocated based on fault, both the drunk driver and the innocent party are typically entitled to benefits. These benefits include:

  • A right to recover all of the expenses incurred in the care, recovery, and rehabilitation of the injured person;
  • Recovery of lost wages which were lost by the individual as a result of being unable to work due to his or her injuries; and
  • Replacement services, which allow the injured person to hire someone to perform necessary domestic services that they would have performed themselves, but for their injury.

Call a Pennsylvania Dram Shop Attorney

If you or someone in your life was involved in a car collision where the other driver was intoxicated or otherwise impaired, it is imperative that you speak with the team of Dram Shop auto accident attorneys at Edelstein Law. Do not hesitate to call our office today at (215) 893-9311 for a free consultation.