A dram shop law allows you to hold the seller of the alcohol responsible when an intoxicated person causes an accident. Many states have these laws.
According to FindLaw, dram shop laws are part of the civil system. They allow you to sue the person or company responsible for providing alcohol. Virginia does not honor this type of law.
Part of the issue
Part of the reason why some states do not have dram shop laws is these cases are difficult to prove. To make a valid claim, you will need to show the court that the seller or provider of the alcohol knew the person was intoxicated and would get into a vehicle and drive under the influence.
Many states with these laws also have very strict requirements for the meaning of words. For example, laws will usually stipulate the intoxicated person must be a patron of an establishment, but the word “patron” can mean different things in different states.
It also varies how states will determine if a bartender or seller had knowledge the person had drank too much and was not legal to drive.
In other words, even in states that do have dram shop laws, the ability to hold someone or a business accountable can vary due to the various details of the law.
Dram shop laws are rather unique because they allow you to legally hold someone responsible for the actions of someone else. This fact and the other issues are likely part of the reason why Virginia does not have this type of law.