When you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver, suing the driver seems like the logical choice. However, there might be another party who you can hold responsible for the accident. If you were hit by a drunk driver, here is what you need to know.
Who Else Is Responsible?
If the drunk driver was served alcohol at a bar or private party, you might be able to hold the person or establishment partially responsible for your accident. Dram shop laws allow you to file a lawsuit against liquor stores, bars, and other businesses that continue to serve alcohol to consumers after it is obvious they were drunk. The laws even extend to party hosts.
For instance, if the driver who hit you had left a private party while inebriated and the host failed to take measures to ensure he or she got home safely, you could argue the host is responsible. The host had a legal and moral obligation to stop the driver from driving.
It is important to note that not all states have dram shop laws. If you live in a state that does not have these laws, you might be able to still take action if you can prove the third party should hold some responsibility.
What Do You Have to Prove?
As with all personal injury cases, you have to prove that you were injured and those injuries were a direct result of the accident. Proving this can be relatively easy with the help of medical records and police reports.
Negligence is the foundation of personal injury cases and in order to use the dram shop law, you have to prove that the establishment or person who provided the alcohol was negligent. This can be tricky.
You have to prove that the server should have known that the person should have been cutoff and kept from driving. For instance, if the server witnessed the driver stumbling or slurring his or her speech, you could argue that no more alcohol should have been served.
In addition to this, you have to prove that the server had no regard for the safety of the drinker or others who could potentially be impacted. You could argue that the mere fact that the server continued to provide alcohol was a sign of his or her disregard for the safety of others.
A personal injury attorney can help determine if dram shop laws could be applied to your case and what steps you need to take.