Archive for the ‘Premises Liablity’ Category

If Patron Has Been Overserved, Can You Sue The Bar If They Cause An Accident?

As we draw to the end of one year and the start of a new one, plenty of people are celebrating, either at restaurants, bars and clubs or in the homes of friends or family members where they’ve been overserved. Despite concerted efforts to educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving, there are still plenty of people who drink too much and get behind the wheels of their automobiles. Drunk drivers leave a path of destruction and tragedy in their wake, and frequently they’re not the only ones responsible. Careful investigation often reveals that there are others who have failed to take action to avert disaster, including establishments and hosts who overserve customers despite their obvious intoxication. In the state of New Jersey, these individuals and entities can also be held responsible for the damage that their guest or patron causes.

The law that holds restaurant, club and bar owners responsible when they sell alcohol to obviously intoxicated clients is Section 2A:22A-4 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes. Known as a dram shop law, it permits people who have been harmed by a drunken driver to file a lawsuit against these businesses, holding them responsible for not having acted to prevent an accident. The two conditions under which this law applies are when an establishment serves or sells alcohol to a minor that they had reason to believe was under 21, and when a person to whom they served or sold alcohol was already visibly intoxicated. The state also has a social host liability law that holds the host of a party responsible for damages that a person causes if that person is too intoxicated as a result of alcohol that they served or watched a person consume in their home. The law does not limit liability to when a host provides the alcohol: if the guest brings their own alcohol or serves it to themselves, the host can still be held responsible.

Host and establishment liability in no way interferes with the fact that the person who was intoxicated is responsible for their own action. The liability can simply be extended to those who did not act to prevent the accident from happening, or who facilitated the individual’s drunken state. These people can be pursued for compensation of medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation, property damage, or any other expenses caused by the person’s negligent actions. They can also be pursued for punitive damages meant to serve as punishment and warning against similar actions in the future. For more information on pursuing this type of litigation, contact Wallace Law today to set up an appointment.

Most Common Sources Of Food Poisoning From Thanksgiving Dinner

Just in time for Thanksgiving dinner comes an announcement that over 150 people have been sickened by food poisoning from turkey over the last year, and one person has actually died. Making matters worse is the fact that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the salmonella strain that caused the outbreak has not been traced back to its source – and that means that no recalls have been requested and the problem might still exist.

Nobody wants their guests to get sick from eating their food. Not only would it be a terrible memory, but if somebody gets truly ill from food poisoning, you could potentially be held legally and financially responsible if they were to file a premises liability lawsuit against you. To make sure that your holiday (and your guests’ holiday) is happy, here are some tips for avoiding the most common sources of food poisoning from Thanksgiving dinner.

  • One of the first things most people do when they unwrap their holiday turkey and prepare it for cooking is to rinse it out and off. This may seem like a precaution against bacteria but actually is just the opposite. If there are salmonella bacteria on your turkey’s surface, it will be killed during the cooking process if it is cooked correctly. However, rinsing could send the bacteria into the sink or close surfaces, where it could encounter other foods, plates or utensils.
  • If you’re buying a frozen turkey, it is tempting to just let it sit out on the counter at room temperature, especially if you haven’t given yourself enough defrosting time. Room temperature is an invitation to bacteria. If you have the time, leave the turkey in the refrigerator – it takes about 24 hours for every 5 lbs. of weight. If you’re short of time, use the cold-water method where you place the wrapped turkey into a bucket of cold water, constantly replacing the water. This method takes about 30 minutes per pound.
  • You know that handy pop-up timer that the turkey company places in the bird? Forget about it – it’s not a reliable gauge of whether the turkey is cooked through or not. The only accurate method of determining interior temperature is to use a meat thermometer. Your turkey is not cooked (and fear of salmonella not eliminated) until the temperature in the thickest areas reaches at least 165 degrees.
  • Don’t think of the outdoors as a refrigerator or freezer. Even if the air temperature is below 32 degrees, once the sun hits your food, it heats up.
  • Get rid of leftovers after four days.

Enjoy your holidays safely! And if your guests fall ill from food poisoning, contact Wallace Law for help.