Slate’s Law Blog

Dram Shop Liability Laws in New Mexico

Dram Shop Liability Laws in New Mexico

Here in New Mexico, you are probably used to using different systems of measurement in different contexts. You probably know your weight in pounds but not in kilograms and the temperature of this year’s summer heat in triple-digit degrees Fahrenheit but not in degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists measure medication doses in grams and milligrams, and radiologists use ultrasound images to measure internal organs in centimeters. In your own kitchen, your family recipe for coleslaw dressing has, among other ingredients, two spoons of barbecue sauce and four shakes of salt and pepper, but these measurements are unique to the size of your spoons and your salt and pepper shakers. One unit of measurement you probably have never thought about is the dram, which lends its name to New Mexico’s dram shop liability law. To find out more about dram shop liability laws, contact a Santa Fe slip-and-fall and premises liability lawyer.

What is Premises Liability?

Premises liability means that business owners have a legal duty to make reasonable efforts to protect business invitees from suffering preventable injuries on the premises of the business.  These are some of the ways in which premises liability manifests itself:

  • To prevent slip and fall accidents, retail stores and restaurants should place “wet floor” signs after mopping and should inspect the floors frequently for spills.
  • Nightclub owners should hire security personnel to break up fights and prevent assaults.
  • The staff of golf courses and other recreational areas open to paying guests should inspect the premises for venomous snakes and remove them if found.

A customer who gets injured in a preventable accident at a place of business has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the business and to recover damages for medical bills and other accident-related income.

What is a Dram Shop?

The term “dram” has referred to various units of measurement since ancient times, but the most relevant definition of “dram” to dram shop liability is a unit of liquid measurement approximately equal to a teaspoon or between three and four milliliters. Before the Second World War, liquor stores and bars often sold alcoholic beverages by the dram. Therefore, in the context of dram shop liability, a dram shop is a bar or restaurant where people buy alcohol and drink it on the premises.

Who Can Sue Under New Mexico’s Dram Shop Liability Law?

Dram shop liability laws hold that a person who gets injured in a drunk driving accident can sue the bar or restaurant where the at-fault driver got drunk right before driving. To win a dram shop liability case, you must prove that the driver consumed alcohol at the bar before causing the accident and that the employees knew that the driver was too drunk to drive by the time the driver left the bar.

Contact Slate Stern About Dram Shop Liability Lawsuits

Slate Stern is a personal injury lawyer who represents plaintiffs in dram shop liability cases.  Contact Slate Stern in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or call (505)814-1517 to discuss your case.