Can I sue a bar if I am hit by a drunk driver?

Under what are known as dram shop laws, an individual who is injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver may be able to hold an alcohol vender liable. However, doing so can be quite difficult, as it is often hard to prove that the vendor had certain knowledge. For example, did the vendor know the individual was intoxicated before serving him or her? These types of questions can be complex, and acquiring the evidence to support an answer can be pivotal in a civil lawsuit.

In order to win under dram shop liability, a victim often must prove several elements. First, he or she will likely have to establish that the negligent driver who harmed him or her was in fact sold alcohol by the third-party vendor. Second, causation typically must be shown, meaning that the sale of alcohol to the negligent driver was at least part of the cause of the accident. If these types of elements can be satisfactorily shown, then a car accident victim may be able to recover compensation from both the drunk driver who hurt him or her and the alcohol vendor.

While the actual amount of recoverable compensation may not differ depending on how many parties a victim recovers from, it may mean a lot when it comes to actually collecting that compensation. For example, a single individual may have difficulty paying a $1 million judgment against him or her, but a chain restaurant found liable under a dram shop law would likely be able to pay that sum quite easily. For this reason, it is often beneficial for a car accident victim to consider every party that may be liable for his or her injuries.

Suffering a serious injury in a car accident can throw life into a tailspin. However, by filing a successful lawsuit, you may be able to recover your damages and find the stability you need.

Source: FindLaw, “Dram Shop Laws,” accessed on Nov. 9, 2014


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