Can Injured Person Sue Because Bar Overserved Them


When our lawyers sue a bar, it is usually because they overserved a customer, who then injured another person. Often it is a drunk driver car crash, but we have also had many assault cases.  Those cases seem pretty straightforward. We have to prove the bar or nightclub overserved the patron, and that the intoxication contributed to the incident.

However, sometimes it is the intoxicated person who is injured. Our attorneys have taken many calls from people who were themselves injured because they were overserved at a bar. In general, the intoxicated customer cannot sue the bar for overserving them. So, for example, if the overserved customer is later injured in a car accident he caused, he will probably not be able to successfully sue the bar. The reasoning for this is that intoxication ordered and consumed the drinks. There are actually some good arguments that the bar should still be responsible, but that is not the law in Minnesota.


Minnesota law does, however, allow the family of the intoxicated person to sue the bar for their losses. Minnesota Statute 340A.801 allows anyone directly affected by the illegal sale of alcohol to sue the bar for their losses.  For example, if the intoxicated person dies from alcohol poisoning, or even in a car accident, the surviving family members may have a claim against the bar. Likewise, if the intoxicated person is catastrophically injured, his family can sue the bar for compensation, even though the intoxicated person cannot.

The family does not have a claim for the injured person’s pain and suffering. They also cannot sue for the injured person’s medical bills. Rather, they have their own claim for their own losses. If the overserved person was the breadwinner (primary source of income) for his family, they have a loss of his earnings. Further, the loss of the family member’s emotional support and guidance can be significant.

A parent may have been counting on their child to help them as they get older.  When the child is injured because the bar overserved him, that expectation is lost.  Likewise, a young child naturally has an expectation that their parent will be their to guide them through their school age years. There are many types of family situations where compensation may be appropriate.


Our lawyers have more than 25 years’ experience representing injured people and their families throughout Minnesota. If you find yourself in this type of tragic situation, you are welcome to call us for a free consultation with an attorney. We will guide you through the insurance issues and make sure you understand your rights. You can meet a lawyer in person at our Twin Cities offices, or we will come to you anywhere in Minnesota. The consultation is free, and we never charge anything unless you receive compensation.