Under the Dram Shop Act, the restaurant or bar that served a drunk driver could be held liable for any injuries the driver causes. However, these claims can be complex, making it important to work with an Atlanta dram shop accident premises liability lawyer. An experienced premises liability lawyer can help you hold all the responsible parties accountable.
What is the Dram Shop Act?
The Dram Shop Act imposes liability on a restaurant or any other business that sells alcohol to an individual who is noticeably intoxicated and who they know will bet driving shortly afterward. If the drunk driver is then in an accident, the person who is injured can seek to recover not just from the drunk driver but also from the place that served them when they were noticeably intoxicated.
The most common parties who are held liable under the Dram Shop Act are restaurant and bar owners and managers. This law could also extend to liquor stores or convenience stores if they are selling alcohol to underage individuals who are intoxicated at the time of purchase. However, the law most commonly refers to a restaurant or a bar knowingly over-serving someone they know is going to be driving.
Bringing a Claim in Atlanta
To recover against the actual dram shop, a person has to prove that the bar or restaurant overserved an individual who was noticeably intoxicated at the time and with the knowledge that the person would be driving soon. If they can prove this, they could recover compensation for their injuries.
If a person was intoxicated when they were injured, they may or may not be able to recover damages depending on the circumstances. If they were the driver who caused the accident, there are generally no damages available. The driver cannot sue the person who served them under the Dram Shop Act. However, if it was a passenger of the driver who is intoxicated, the fact that they are intoxicated is generally not going to affect their claim. However, the defense may try to place some blame on them for knowingly getting in the vehicle with someone they knew was intoxicated and should not be driving. The fact that the injured person was drinking will generally not legally bar their claim.
The Role of Intoxication in a Dram Shop Accident Claim
The intoxication level of the actual driver can play a significant role. The more intoxicated the driver is, the easier it is to argue that the people who were serving them knew or should have known that they were overly intoxicated. The higher the blood alcohol content, the more likely a case will be successful.
At the same time, the dram shop defendant is likely to place blame on the driver for being drunk themselves. If the injured individual passenger or driver has a very high alcohol level, then they may also try to place blame on them.
An Atlanta Dram Shop Accident Premises Liability Attorney Can Be an Advocate
If you were injured in a car accident with a drunk driver, you may also be able to hold the business that served the driver liable under the Dram Shop Act. An Atlanta dram shop accident premises liability lawyer can examine the specific circumstances to help you determine your rights. Call today for a free consultation.