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Can a Bar Be Sued for an Accident Caused by a Drunk Driver?

Can a Bar Be Sued for an Accident Caused by a Drunk Driver?

Posted By The Dunnion Law Firm || 2-Feb-2017

Being involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver can be the most stressful event that a person will experience. Drunk driving accidents often result in serious injuries and big medical bills, leaving you in a dire financial situation. If you’ve been thinking about filing a lawsuit after your drunk driving accident, then there are a few things you need to consider, including whether or not your state allows you to sue an over serving bar.

Some jurisdictions hold bars liable for drunk driving accidents resulting from over serving, allowing the opportunity to get the compensation you deserve. Learn more about the complications involved in suing a bar and find out why you should hire a Fresno car accident attorney after a drunk driver wreck.

Dram Shop Cases

Whether you’re planning to bring suit against a bar, restaurant or liquor store, cases involving businesses that sell alcohol are known as ‘dram shop’ cases. Dram shop laws are meant to hold businesses responsible for drunk driving accidents that could have been prevented by denying service to a drunk patron. Before you file a dram shop suit, you should understand there are two types of dram shop case: first party and third party.

First party dram shop cases are filed by the drunk driver in order to reduce their liability after causing a wreck. However, many states do not allow adults to file a first party case, and only provide these cases for minors who have been illegally served and then caused an accident.

Third party dram shop cases are the more common form of suit following a drunk driving accident, and are filed by someone who has been injured by a drunk driver. Although most states allow for third party suits, there are differences in what type of evidence you’ll need to win your case and get your compensation.

The Importance of Liability in a Drunk Driver Suit

If you’re familiar with personal injury suits, then you know how important it is to prove negligence in these cases. While negligence can play a role in dram shop cases, it is not the only way that you can prove the bar’s liability. Most dram shop cases, in fact, do not rest on negligence at all, and are instead based around either recklessness or intent.

When you’re trying to prove recklessness, you need to be able to demonstrate that the serving establishment was aware of their actions and ignored the risk that they posed. For example, you will need to prove that the bar or restaurant knowingly served a patron that was obviously intoxicated, or a minor, and that this directly resulted in your accident.

Depending on the state where you live, dram shop laws may be severely limited, requiring that you prove the intent of the server. In simple terms, you must be able to show that the serving establishment intentionally provided alcohol to someone who should not have been served. It’s also important to understand that most states that use intent in dram shop cases limit suits to those involving minors.

Consult a Fresno Car Accident Attorney

If you’re having trouble getting the compensation that you need after you’ve been struck by a drunk driver, then one of your best options is to sue the bar or restaurant involved in your case. Before filing your claim, you need to consult with a Fresno car accident attorney from the Dunnion Law Firm. The Dunnion Law Firm legal team can examine your case and advise you on the best way to win your needed compensation. Contact us today.