Minnesota Dram Shop Liability

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Key Takeaways
  • Minnesota dram shop laws allow victims to hold establishments accountable if they overserve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person or someone under the age of 21.
  • Victims, including spouses, children, parents, or guardians, can file dram shop liability claims for injuries or damages caused by the intoxicated individual.
  • Separately, social host liability in Minnesota can hold individuals accountable for overserving alcohol to minors in non-commercial settings.
  • The Minnesota statute of limitations for filing a claim is two years for dram shop cases and six years for social host cases.

Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes lead to countless deaths in Minnesota and across the country every year. Many of these heartbreaking drunk driving accidents occur after drivers leave bars, restaurants, liquor stores, events, or social gatherings where they were overserved. Dram shop liability refers to the legal responsibility of establishments that overserve alcoholic beverages.

If you or your loved one were injured by a drunk driver, you may be eligible to hold the bar, restaurant, or party host who served them liable under Minnesota dram shop laws. Our experienced dram shop lawyers at Sieben Polk P.A. provide compassionate guidance to accident victims, aggressively pursuing full and fair compensation on their behalf. Call 651-437-3148 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.

Why Hire an Attorney To Handle Your Dram Shop Case?

Sieben Polk P.A. is a full-service personal injury law firm. We believe in serving our community by providing high-quality legal representation to folks injured at little to no fault of their own. We have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts on behalf of our deserving clients. Their testimonials speak for themselves.

Our dram shop lawyers are ready to provide crucial guidance to navigate the complex legal landscape surrounding these claims. Among other things, we can help by gathering evidence to prove the drinking establishment’s liability.

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Our attorneys can also help calculate the full damages you suffered due to the establishment’s negligence, ensuring that your compensation covers medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Additionally, we can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and represent you in court if necessary, leveraging our deep knowledge of Minnesota dram shop laws to strengthen your case.

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Have Questions? Our Injury Lawyers Are Ready To Help.

Dram Shop Liability in Minnesota

Also known as the Civil Liability Act, Minnesota first enacted its dram shop law in 1911. It is currently codified under Minnesota Statute 340A. This law gives victims the right to hold establishments liable when their negligent and illegal overserving leads to harm. Victims of drunk driving accidents can pursue legal action against bars, restaurants, liquor stores, clubs, hotels, and other entities if they can prove:

  • The establishment illegally sold alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person or someone under the legal drinking age of 21.
  • The illegal sale contributed to or caused the intoxicated person’s drunkenness.
  • That overserved person caused the victim’s injuries after leaving the establishment.
  • The victim incurred compensable damages as a result of the accident.
  • Proper notice was provided to the liquor vendor pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 340A.802.

Who Can File a Claim Under Minnesota's Dram Shop Liability Act?

The Minnesota Dram Shop Act designates who can pursue compensation through a dram shop liability claim. Specifically:

A spouse, child, parent, guardian, employer, or other person injured in person, property, or means of support . . . by the intoxication of another person . . . [can sue the establishment that] caused the intoxication of that person by illegally selling alcoholic beverages.

Our experienced attorneys can also help surviving family members build a strong dram shop case to prove an establishment violated alcohol service laws and hold them liable for their loved one’s wrongful death. We know how to thoroughly investigate fatal drunk driving crashes, gather evidence, and construct the strongest case possible on your behalf.

We urge grieving families not to go through this complex legal process alone. Let our knowledgeable Minnesota dram shop lawyers fight for compensation on your behalf through a wrongful death dram shop claim.

Social Host Liability in Minnesota

In addition to businesses, Minnesota law also allows victims to hold private “social hosts” liable in certain situations involving minors. Minnesota social host liability refers to the responsibilities of individuals 21 years of age and older who serve alcohol in non-commercial settings. For example, this can apply if a homeowner or party host overserves an at-fault underage drunk driver. Plaintiffs must prove that the person over 21 either:

  • Had control over the premises and, being in a reasonable position to prevent the consumption of alcohol, knowingly or recklessly permitted someone under 21 to drink.
  • Sold, bartered, furnished, gave to, or purchased the alcohol that caused the intoxication of someone under 21.

A long line of court decisions has established other principles outlining the full contours of social host liability in Minnesota. This area of the law can be complex, and trying to tackle it alone can seriously compromise the viability of your claim.

If a drunk driver who caused a fatal crash was over-served at a private party, our car accident lawyers can help you explore your legal rights and options. Our seasoned legal team knows how to build a strong social host liability case showing the defendant host negligently or recklessly served alcohol against the law.

Key Differences Between Dram Shop and Social Host Liability

Minnesota’s dram shop laws are codified in statutes. To hold an establishment liable under these laws, the plaintiff must prove that a business sold or provided alcohol to a visibly intoxicated individual or a minor under 21 and that this action directly contributed to the injury or damages suffered. Importantly, Minnesota law requires businesses that sell alcoholic beverages to maintain liability insurance to cover dram shop claims, with minimum coverage amounts specified by statute.

Social host liability pertains to individuals who provide alcohol at private functions or settings without a commercial transaction. This can include parties at someone’s home. For a social host to be held liable in Minnesota, the focus is often on whether the host provided alcohol to minors under 21. The liability for serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated adult is less clear-cut and typically does not carry the same legal consequences as serving minors.

What is the Deadline for Filing My Claim?

One crucial difference between dram shop liability and social host liability in Minnesota is the governing statute of limitations, which sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit. Dram shop cases are governed by a two-year deadline. By contrast, social host cases are governed by a six-year deadline.

Our Attorneys Can Help You Pursue Dram Shop Compensation

Our dedicated legal team has spent decades helping victims recover compensation after being injured in alcohol-related crashes. If the intoxicated driver who caused your accident was overserved, let our experienced Minnesota dram shop lawyers help your family pursue damages and justice.

Contact the knowledgeable, experienced Minnesota dram shop attorneys at Sieben Polk P.A. to schedule your free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your case. Remember, you have limited time to file dram shop and social host claims. Reach out today by calling 651-437-3148 or filling out our online contact form.

Our Injury Attorneys Can Help You Fight for the Justice and Compensation You Deserve.

Minnesota Legislature. 2022. 340A.409 LIABILITY INSURANCE POLICY. Accessed 21 February 2024.https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/340A.409

Minnesota Department of Health. “Impaired Driving.” Minnesota Department of Health, July 21, 2023.https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/alcohol/basics/impaireddriving.html

Minnesota Legislature. 2022. 466.04 CIVIL DAMAGES. Accessed 21 February 2024. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/466.04

Minnesota Legislature. 2022. 340A.801 CIVIL ACTIONS. Accessed 21 February 2024. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/340A.801

Minnesota Legislature. 2022. 340A.90 CIVIL LIABILITY FOR FURNISHING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES TO OBVIOUSLY INTOXICATED PERSONS. Accessed 21 February 2024. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/340A.90

Koehnen v. Dufuor, 590 N.W.2d 107 (Minn. 1999). Accessed 21 February 2024. https://casetext.com/case/koehnen-v-dufuor

City of Saint Paul Legislative Code. §310 Liquor Control. Accessed 21 February 2024. https://www.stpaul.gov/DocumentCenter/View/10590.pdf

Minnesota Legislature. 2022. 340A.802 NOTICE OF INJURY; DISCOVERY BEFORE ACTION. Accessed 21 February 2024. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/340A.802

Minnesota Legislature. 2022. 340A.502 SALES TO OBVIOUSLY INTOXICATED PERSONS. Accessed 21 February 2024. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/340A.502#:~:text=502%20SALES%20TO%20OBVIOUSLY%20INTOXICATED,of%20an%20obviously%20intoxicated%20person.

Minnesota Legislature. 2022. 340A.503 PERSONS UNDER 21; ILLEGAL ACTS. Accessed 21 February 2024. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/340A.503

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