If I Was Injured by an Uninsured Drunk Driver, Can I Sue Whoever Sold Him Alcohol

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Many states have enacted “dram shop” laws, which allow someone injured by an intoxicated person to sue an establishment such as a bar, or sue a social host, who served that person alcohol. Such laws are particularly useful when, for example, someone is seriously injured by a penniless and uninsured drunk driver – it allows the injured person a second chance to receive compensation. Kentucky has its own dram shop law, although its coverage is limited.

Nightclub Owners

In Kentucky, you can sue a nightclub owner for serving alcohol to a drunken patron who later injures you as a result of his intoxication – if and only if a “reasonable person” would have realized that the patron was intoxicated at the time he was served. In this case the injured victim (or the personal representative of his estate, if the victim died) can sue the nightclub, the drunken patron or both of them. The nightclub is responsible for the acts of its employees.

To win your claim, you must prove:

  • the nightclub or bar served a patron who was already visibly intoxicated;
  • the nightclub or bar’s act of serving the patron substantially contributed to his intoxication; and
  • the intoxicated person went on to hurt someone (either intentionally or accidentally) as a result of that intoxication.

The Kentucky dram shop law is not just for DUI victims – someone injured in a bar fight can also use this law.

Social Hosts

Unlike the dram shop laws of many states, Kentucky’s dram shop law makes no mention of liability for social hosts (the owner of a home at which a private party is held, for example).


In some states, if a nightclub or social host serves alcohol to a minor who subsequently injures someone, the server can be held liable even if the minor was not visibly intoxicated at the time he was served. The Kentucky dram shop law makes no specific mention of minors (people under the age of 21). The nightclub, its owner or an employee might be subject to separate criminal penalties for serving a minor, however.

Make It Happen, Starting Today

Even if the driver who injured you was uninsured, there may still be a way to recover compensation for your injuries beyond the limits of your own policy. Call Glenn Martin Hammond Law Office, PLLC at (866) 448-7777, or fill out our online contact form, to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. You have nothing to lose, because we will only bill you if we win your case.

We serve clients throughout Lexington, Kentucky including Bryan Station, Hamburg, Squire Oak and elsewhere.

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