Michigan Dram Shop Law – Who is Liable?

March 17, 2016 | Thomas L. Stroble
Michigan Dram Shop Law – Who is Liable?
Glass of alcoholic drink and car key, on wooden table, on light

In every U.S. state, a person who is injured by the actions of an intoxicated individual may choose to bring a personal injury claim directly against the wrongdoer.  And in several states, including Michigan, the injured person may also bring a civil claim against a vendor who supplied alcohol to the person who caused the injury. These claims are known as "dram shop[1]" claims; the name comes from the fact that alcohol was traditionally sold by a unit of measure called a dram.

Michigan Dram Shop Law

The State of Michigan has specific laws dealing with lawsuits against businesses that sell alcohol to the public when that sale results in the personal injury, death, or property damage to another.  This law is commonly known as the Dram Shop Act[2].  The law found at MCL 436.1801 provides in part:

“(2) A retail licensee shall not directly, individually, or by a clerk, agent, or servant sell, furnish, or give alcoholic liquor to a minor except as otherwise provided in this Act.  A retail licensee shall not directly or indirectly, individually or by a clerk, agent, or servant sell, furnish, or give alcoholic liquor to a person who is visibly intoxicated.

Personal Insurance Protection Benefits in Michigan

As a general rule, any person injured in a motor vehicle accident in Michigan is entitled to personal insurance protection (PIP) benefits, which are provided by the individual’s own no-fault carrier, regardless of fault in the accident. Because PIP benefits are not allocated based on fault, both the drunk driver and the innocent party are typically entitled to benefits. These benefits include:

  • A right to recover all of the expenses incurred in the care, recovery, and rehabilitation of the injured person;
  • Up to three years of wages which were lost by the individual as a result of being unable to work due to his or her injuries; and
  • Replacement services, which allow the injured person to hire someone to perform necessary domestic services that they would have performed   themselves if not for the injury.

Call a Michigan Dram Shop Attorney

If you or someone in your life was involved in a car collision where the other driver was intoxicated or otherwise impaired, it is imperative to speak to the team of Dram Shop auto accident attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers. Do not hesitate to call our office today at 313-GET-HELP for a free consultation.


[1] http://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/dram-shop-liability-state-statutes.aspx
[2] http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(ylhbdj03vicfihjcd1xifmyi))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-436-1801

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Thomas L. Stroble


Mr. Stroble is a highly accomplished graduate of Michigan State University, with degrees in both science and law. He specializes in commercial lawsuits and personal injury cases. Licensed to practice law in Michigan and even the U.S. Supreme Court, he’s a well-qualified legal expert. Besides his career in law, he loves outdoor activities and volunteers as a part-time police officer in Birmingham.

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