New Mexico’s Dram Shop Law

A glass of whiskey, car keys and handcuffs in a dram shop.

Drunk driving accidents often cause devastation. The injuries sustained in these situations can be catastrophic. Unfortunately, the drunk driver sometimes does not carry enough insurance coverage to properly compensate the injured party. This is part of the reason that Mexico and other states have a dram shop law. Dram shop laws allow a victim injured by a drunk driver to, under certain circumstances, recover compensation from a third party for the harm they have sustained.

New Mexico’s Dram Shop Law

As stated above, the New Mexico dram shop law allows for third party liability in alcohol-related accidents. Third-party means that someone who was not a direct party in the crash can be held liable for compensating the victim. Third-party liability under New Mexico’s dram shop law can extend to an establishment that served the drunk person the alcohol, such as a restaurant or bar, and it can also apply to social hosts, in some cases.

Pursuant to Section 41-11-1 of New Mexico Statutes Annotated, New Mexico’s dram shop law, an injured person can hold a licensed alcohol vendor liable for damages if:

  • The vendor sold or served alcohol to a person who was intoxicated and
  • The intoxication of the person was “reasonably apparent” to the vendor or
  • The vendor knew that the person purchasing or consuming alcohol was intoxicated.

If the person injured by the intoxicated individual can establish the above elements, he or she may be able to seek compensation from the alcohol vendor for damages incurred. The intoxicated person cannot collect damages from the vendor who served him or her unless the services was either “grossly negligent” or “reckless”.

Section (E) of the New Mexico dram shop law provides for extending liability to social hosts for damage an intoxicated person causes. Social hosts may be held liable if “the alcoholic beverages were provided recklessly in disregard of the rights of others, including the social guest.” So, in cases where there was a “reckless disregard of the rights of others,” a social host may be held liable for damages sustained by a person injured by an intoxicated individual.

It is important to note that New Mexico does place a limit on the amount of damages that are available in a dram shop or social host liability claim. The damages are capped at $50,000 per person or $100,000 per accident for bodily injuries. Additionally, there is $20,000 per accident cap on property damage.

Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you are legally entitled to compensation for the harm you have suffered. While the laws may be complicated, there are several potential avenues for recovering the compensation you deserve. MPJ Law Firm fights to enforce the legal rights of our clients and get them the full and fair compensation to which they are entitled. Contact us today.

Posted in: Automobile Accidents