Ohio Dram Shop Law

Understanding ORC 4399.18

Ohio law allows people injured in a drunk driving accident to file a civil injury lawsuit against social hosts or business who served the alcohol that intoxicated the driver who caused the crash. However, there are certain limitations placed on the filing of these claims broken down in ORC 4399.18.

Someone injured by an intoxicated person may be able to file a claim against an alcohol vendor if:

  • The injury, death, or property damage occurred on the vendor’s property/in the parking lot under their control and was the result of negligence on the part of the vendor or their employee.
  • The injury, death, or property damage occurred off the vendor’s property and the vendor “knowingly sold” alcohol to a person under the age of 21 or someone who was noticeable intoxicated.

Party Host Liability

This law only covers vendors with a license to serve alcohol to patrons. In most cases, people hosting a party are not liable for any injuries, deaths, or property damage caused by their guests. The exception to this is if the host serves alcohol to a person under the age of 21 who then causes a vehicle accident.

Damages Injured People Can Seek

The injured person must file the claim themselves because alcohol-related injury claims are civil lawsuits. Some damages commonly sought by injured victims include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Lost ability to earn wages in the future
  • Loss of consortium