About Alcoholism - Alcoholism Information, Research and Treatment
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A growing number of court actions, including a $2,300,000 judgment against a Beverly Hills cocktail lounge, are holding bars and restaurants legally responsible for the customer who gets drunk, then gets into a car and injures or kills someone, or even himself.
Bar owners say the court decisions have created for them a situation much like the "malpractice crisis" facing doctors in many states--steeply rising liability insurance rates, wholesale cancellation of policies by some insurers, warnings that many bar owners will go bankrupt because of higher insurance rates, and a new edge of suspicion in a traditional relationship of trust between practitioner and client.
According to insurance officials, California is leading the way in a number of such judgments against bars. But they say they are occurring increasingly in many of the 24 other states, including New York, where statutes or court interpretations of the common law have given third parties the right to seek redress from persons who sold liquor to those later causing them injury.