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Bar Owner Liability


In Ohio, people who serve alcoholic beverages can be held legally responsible for damage caused by intoxicated patrons. These laws are called “dram shop liability laws” because bars and taverns were once referred to as dram shops.

Dram shop liability laws hold the owners of restaurants, bars (and other commercial establishments where alcohol is sold) responsible for the damage caused by drunk drivers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bar Owner Liability and Dram Shop Law

If you are considering hiring an attorney, you may have concerns about contacting a lawyer. We answer your most frequently asked questions below about bar owner liability below.

What is Dram Shop?

At some point in time, bars and taverns were all called “dram shops” since alcohol was sold by the “dram” a unit of weight used for alcohol. Dram shop laws are applied to any establishment that sells liquor.

Are Bars Liable for Drunk Driving?

In Ohio, bar liability is set out in section 4399.18 of the Ohio Revised Code. In general, a bar is exempt from liability for injuries that happen off its property unless that bar sold alcohol to someone intoxicated or underage. For a lawsuit to succeed, the person’s intoxication must be the cause of the injury or damage at issue.

How is Bar Owner Liability Proven?

In order to bring a case against a bar owner, the injured person must prove that the intoxication was the cause of the injury. The plaintiff would also have to show the bar recklessly disregarded the law by serving the drunk person.

This could be caused by not asking for ID or by providing alcohol despite evidence of intoxication. Learn more about a bar’s liability for alcohol related incidents.

How to get help after an accident resulting from bar owner negligence

Call us today at 216-621-0070 or complete our online form to get a free consultation and learn more about your rights if you or a loved one were injured due to bar owner negligence.


Some victims of bar owner negligence are awarded punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, which are awarded to compensate a victim for injuries, punitive damages are intended to punish the offender.


If you have been injured due to bar owner negligence, you may be curious about your legal options, including the value of any possible claims. You may be able to recover the money spent on medical bills and wages from lost work. Give us a call. We will begin an investigation immediately and have answers for you quickly.