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A brief refresher on CT's dram shop laws

With St. Patrick's Day just around the corner, Connecticut bartenders and their owners should brush up on their knowledge of the state's dram shop laws, as doing so can keep them from assuming liability for an intoxicated person's harmful actions. According to Law.com, the Dram Shop Act is a case law which 38 states have adopted. The act makes it so any business that sells alcoholic beverages, or any host who serves alcoholic drinks, to a person who is obviously intoxicated or close to it, is strictly liable for any harms the intoxicated person causes.

Per the National Conference of State Legislatures, one can find Connecticut's Dram Shop Laws under Conn. Gen. Stat. §30-102. According to this statute, if any business, agent of a business or social host sells or serves alcoholic liquor to an intoxicated person, and if the recipient or the purchaser, as a result of his or her further state of intoxication, injures another person or causes property damage, the state may hold the seller or host strictly liable for damages the intoxicated party caused. Connecticut caps damages in such cases at $250,000, regardless of how many victims sustain injury.

For a person or persons to recover damages under the Dram Shop Law, he, she or they must provide written notice of the intent to bring action to the seller or the host. The aggrieved party must provide notice within 120 days of the incident or, in the case of incapacity or death, within 180 days of the event. The notice must specify the date and time of the incident, the name of the person to whom the seller or host sold or served the liquor, the name and address of the injured party or the damaged property, and the date, time and place where the injury occurred. 

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