Dram shops and other liquor providers have a legal responsibility to their customers. According to the Rhode Island Liquor Liability Act, establishments that serve alcohol must not negligently serve liquor to visibly intoxicated individuals. The same applies to any liquor served to a minor.
This law protects individuals who receive an injury from overserved customers. If an intoxicated individual caused you damages, you might have a case against the vendor.
Who has liability?
The Liquor Liability Act specifies that the vendor only has liability if they reasonably should notice the intoxicated appearance or behavior of the person consuming alcohol. Also, the vendor is not responsible for the actions of individuals who purchase and consume alcohol outside the dram shop. However, if the vendor provides alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron, they still have liability even if they consume the alcoholic beverage away from the shop.
Do social gatherings fall under the law?
Social gatherings usually fall outside the Liquor Liability Act. If someone becomes intoxicated at your residence and injures someone, you are not liable for their actions in most cases. An exception to this rule is the serving of alcohol to minors. If an adult provides alcohol to an underage person, any damages they cause might have legal consequences for the provider. Do not assume that you cannot face liability for providing alcohol at a social gathering, even if your patrons are of age.
Liquor is a heavily regulated consumer good. Rhode Island does not allow vendors to sell alcohol without discretion. If you suffered an injury from an intoxicated individual, the establishment that sold them alcohol might also be at fault.