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Overview of New Mexico's Dram Shop law

A previous post on this blog talked about a tragic accident that left two high school students from another part of New Mexico seriously injured. Police indicated that alcohol was likely a factor in the accident, and they also said that they thought some of the teens involved may have been served alcohol at a family's home even though they were obviously underage.

While police were considering criminal charges against the owners of the home, it is important to note that New Mexico law also imposes civil liability on people in the Albuquerque area who serve alcohol when those people go on to cause drunk driving accidents.

For instance, one provision of the law prohibits those who serve alcohol professionally from providing alcohol to someone is obviously intoxicated. This does not mean that a bartender or server must give all customers a breath test before serving them alcohol, but it does mean that he or she needs to use common sense and, if someone is drunk, keep the safety of all in mind by not serving more drinks. The law also separately prohibits both professionals and those who may be serving alcohol socially, such as to guests in their own home, from knowingly giving alcohol to people who are underage.

How much compensation a person who served alcohol to an underage or intoxicated driver may have to pay is limited to $50,000 per injured victim. Still, when a person has been hurt in an automobile accident caused by drunk driving, every dollar one can claim is helpful to paying things like medical bills and other expenses related to the crash. It can also help cover lost wages and one's non-economic injuries like pain and suffering.

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The Jaffe Law Firm
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