In 1987, the New Jersey Legislature adopted the State's first dram shop statute, the New Jersey Licensed Alcoholic Beverage Server Fair Liability Act. That law, also known as the Dram Shop Act, constitutes the "exclusive civil remedy for personal injury or property damage resulting from the negligent service of alcoholic beverages by a licensed alcoholic beverage server."
Under the Act, a person who sustains personal injury or property damage as a result of the negligent service of alcoholic beverages by a licensed alcoholic beverage server may recover damages from a licensed alcoholic beverage server if:
(1) The server served a visibly intoxicated person, or served a minor, under circumstances where the server knew, or reasonably should have known, that the person served was a minor; and
(2) The injury or damage was proximately caused by the negligent service of alcoholic beverages; and
(3) The injury or damage was a foreseeable consequence of the negligent service of alcoholic beverages.
Many times, these cases involve serious damages to person or property caused by an intoxicated motorist who was negligently served excessive amounts of alcohol by a bar or restaurant. In these cases, a legal cause of action may exist not only against the driver, but also against the bar or restaurant under the New Jersey Dram Shop Act.