Dram shop laws place some liability for a drunk driving accident on an establishment or a person who overserved alcohol to the responsible party. If you’ve been involved in an alcohol-related crash, it’s important you know who is liable, how Rhode Island dram shop laws affect your case, and how a drunk driving car accident victim attorney can help you.

Dram Shop Laws in Rhode Island

Dram shop laws | RI Drunk Driving Victim Lawyer

Rhode Island dram shop laws make it possible for injured victims to establish a civil claim for damages against the alcohol vendor who sells alcohol to a minor or someone obviously intoxicated and later is responsible for an accident. These dram laws also clearly define negligence and recklessness in making a determination about liability:  


If a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have chosen not to serve any further drinks to the person who caused an accident, the vendor could be found negligent.


If the vendor serves alcohol to someone he knows is a minor or clearly intoxicated, he knowingly creates the risk for serious injury and could be found reckless.

Whether a vendor is found to be negligent or reckless, dram shop laws do not reduce the personal responsibility of the drunk driver. Both or one may be held liable.

Additionally, social host laws in Rhode Island allow victims to hold hosts of private events responsible for serving alcohol to a minor or visibly intoxicated person who then causes an accident.

Liability in Your Rhode Island Drunk Driving Accident Victim Case

Drunk driving accidents can be especially devastating, and you may wonder who you can look to for fair compensation. Under Rhode Island dram shop laws, the following factors affect who can be held liable in your case:

  • Whether the vendor knew a particular person to have a habit of drinking in excess
  • On what premises the driver became intoxicated—the server of one bar cannot be held liable for the serving practices of another
  • Whether the driver’s behavior, appearance, or speech would identify him as drunk
  • Whether a vendor actively encouraged an unsafe intake of alcohol



Christopher L. Russo
Helping Rhode Island personal injury victims for nearly three decades to get the compensation they deserve.