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Dram Shop Liability and Auto Accident: Part Three


Dram shop laws are considered as an extra level of protection for the people in Michigan. Individuals who open a liquor business must be able to protect minors and drunk individuals who are on their premises.

Here at Haque Legal, we aim to make sure that we provide you with the right kind of information that you need about how you can protect yourself and your business. With that, this article aims to provide information on potential dram shop liability that business owners must know more about.

In this third article, let us look at the application of dram shop liability, the specific provision of law, as well as the personal insurance protection benefits in Michigan.

The Specific Provision of Law

The specific provision of law in the State of Michigan is known as the Dram Shop Act. The law is embodied in MCL 436.1801 and provides that:

“(2) A retail licensee shall not directly, individually, or by a clerk, agent, or servant sell, furnish, or give alcoholic liquor to a minor except as otherwise provided in this Act. A retail licensee shall not directly or indirectly, individually or by a clerk, agent, or servant sell, furnish, or give alcoholic liquor to a person who is visibly intoxicated.”

This specific provision of law has been used and cited by many lawyers who prosecute under the Dram Shop Act.

Personal Insurance Protection Benefits in Michigan

In the State of Michigan, the no-fault law is now the controlling law. As a general rule, any individual who is injured in an auto accident is entitled to claim the personal insurance protection (PIP) benefits. 

Since there is a no-fault law, the PIP benefits are not allocated or paid based on who is at fault. Regardless of who is at fault in the accident, both the innocent party and the drunk driver are typically entitled to the benefits involved. 

What are the benefits involved in the PIP Benefits?

Generally, a person who has been involved in an accident is entitled to the following PIP benefits:

  • A right to recover the expenses incurred;
  • Up to three years of wages for the benefits lost; and
  • Replacement services.

Can the PIP insurance company go after the Dram Shop Owner?

Yes, the PIP insurance company can go after the Dram Shop Owner. However, the conviction rates of the dram owners in Michigan are relatively lower than any other state since Michigan is a comparative negligence state. 

The common mistake that people make is that you should not have a lot of worries about this if you have insurance that can cover it and just think that it will only affect your insurance premiums in the future. This is not true. 

In the State of Michigan, the liability of the dram shop owner is often higher than what the insurance pays out. If you fully want to be able to protect yourself you have to fight for your rights and make sure that you are not held liable for the offense. 

With that, let us help you with your needs. Haque Legal is always on standby for you to fight for your needs and your rights.

What are the controlling cases in the dram shop liability?

The following are some of the controlling cases in dram shop liability:

  • In King v. Partridge, 157 NW2d 417 (Mich. 1968), it was found by the Michigan Supreme Court that “giving” or “furnishing” of the liquor will also suffice. This means that as long as you have given liquor to another person who is visibly drunk and who is less than 21 years of age, you are already liable for the dram shop liability. What does this mean? This means that as long as you gave the liquor, you are already liable as the shop owner.
  • In the case Maldonado v. Claud’s, Inc., 79 NW2d 847 (Mich. 1956), it was found that “where the cause of action is based on a sale to an adult, it is necessary to show the person is “visibly intoxicated” at the time of sale.” Visibly intoxicated is one of the things that is the point of argument in many of the court hearings. 

How is the process of the dram shop liability filed?

According to the statute, the written notice must be given by a plaintiff to all the defendants after entering an attorney-client relationship to pursue a claim and file a claim. 

The written notice must be given within 120 days from entering an attorney-client relationship. The failure to provide timely notice is a ground for the dismissal of the claim. 

What is the bottom line of the Dram Shop Liability Law?

The bottom line of the dram shop liability law is the fact that every establishment must serve responsibly. Regardless of what the law states, every establishment must serve alcohol and should obtain the appropriate insurance. 

As long as you have liquor liability insurance policies that should cover general liability, you may think that you are good. However, the general liability policies are not sufficient to protect against dram shop liability claims.

Contact Your Lawyer Today

If you have a problem relating to dram shop liability in Michigan that you need assistance with, you should contact us today. A  Southfield criminal defense lawyer can help you get started with your defense. A lawyer at Haque Legal will see to it that your needs are met from the beginning to the end of the proceedings. You are always in good hands with Haque Legal and what it has to offer.


The article that you have read is based on general applications of the law. It is not legal advice and it is not to be construed as any legal consultation with the firm. No client-attorney relationship is created when you read the articles we have provided.

Let us help you out.

If you are having trouble with parties relating to dram shop liability, call us immediately. If you have any problem with the law or are seeking justice and truth, our numbers are standing by to take your call.

The post Dram Shop Liability and Auto Accident: Part Three appeared first on Haque Legal.

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