Dram Shop Laws in Washington, D.C. | What You Should Know

No matter how carefully you yourself drive, there is simply no accounting for reckless or impaired drivers. Of course, you can hold them accountable, but did you know that you can sue the people who served them? If you have sustained injuries due to a drunk driver, please read on, then contact one of our experienced Washington, D.C. drunk driver PI attorneys to learn what you should know about dram shop laws in Washington, D.C.

Does Washington, D.C. have dram shop laws?

Most U.S. states and districts have enacted a dram shop law of one kind or another and our nation’s capital is no exception. Washington, D.C.’s dram shop law affords individuals who sustained injuries as a result of another’s intoxication a cause of action against the party that unlawfully sold, provided or assisted in providing, the alcohol to the intoxicant. In other words, if you sustained injuries through the wrongful behavior of another person, you may have the ability to assert a personal injury claim against that person.

Who is subject to dram shop laws in Washington, D.C.?

In addition to dram shop claims, Washington, D.C. allows for social host liability claims. These claims are as follows:

Under the District’s dram shop law, it is illegal to sell alcohol to a patron who is:

  • Under the legal drinking age
  • Intoxicated

Social host liability:

Although courts in the district have said that a business can be held liable for the actions of intoxicated patrons in some circumstances, the courts have not created clear rules for social host liability.

Given this lack of specificity and the fact that Washingtonians have three years, from the date of the accident, in which to bring forward a personal injury claim, you should reach out to one of our skilled Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyers to discuss your next steps.

What damages can you seek in a D.C. dram shop claim?

In our nation’s capital, victims of drunk driving are able to sue for economic and non-economic damages, which are as follows:

  • Medical, hospital, surgery, prescription and rehabilitation bills
  • Lost wages, both during medical treatment and recovery, and wages that would reasonably have been earned if a disability had not prevented the person from continuing to work
  • Costs related to damaged or destroyed property
  • Costs of replacement help for household chores and childcare the person ordinarily performed before the injury
  • Pain and suffering

Let us fight for you and your future. Please give us a call today.


The experienced personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys at Trombly & Singer, PLLC are prepared to represent clients facing legal matters after being injured due to another person’s negligence. If you require strong legal representation in Washington D.C. or Maryland, contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.