Can I Sue a Bar if I Am Injured by a Drunk Driver?
By Chris Dixon
Traffic laws in the U.S. vary state by state, so it can be difficult to pin down what your state’s drunk driving laws are. If a drunk driver hit you and was over-served at a bar before the accident, you may be eligible to collect damages from the bar depending on your state’s DUI and DWI laws. Speaking with a drunk driving accident lawyer about your case can give you a better understanding of your state’s DUI & DWI laws, whether you may be entitled to damages and what you need to do to file a claim against the drunk driver or the bar who may have over-served them.
Proving a Bar is At-Fault in a Drunk Driving Accident
If you have reason to believe that a drunk driver was over-served at a bar before a drunk driving accident you’re involved in, you may be entitled to damages from the establishment that served the driver. You need supporting evidence that shows that the accident happened, that you sustained injuries because of the drunk driving accident, that the other driver had been over-served at a bar before the accident and that a server was negligent. Again, keep in mind that every state’s drunk driving laws vary, so the evidence that you need to collect might differ from the following. The most common types of evidence that are used to prove that a bar is at-fault for a drunk driver’s actions include:
- An official police report that states that the other driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Calling the police immediately after an accident happens is essential so that responding officers can document the scene of the accident, take statements from parties involved in the accident, record witness accounts and determine who and what caused the accident to happen.
- Proof of sale, such as a receipt or copy of transaction records, from the bar that shows that the bar served the drunk driver before the accident.
- Evidence that the bar acted negligently by serving the driver. Negligence by a server can include serving a visibly intoxicated patron, not asking for proof of age, knowledge that the amount of alcohol that was served would make the patron intoxicated.
- Proof that you sustained injuries from the accident and that the drunk driver caused them. Seeking immediate medical attention after an accident is necessary so that medical personnel can find, treat and document any injuries in an official medical report. A medical report can be a powerful element in your drunk driving accident claim.
Dram Shop Law
There are 43 states in the U.S. that have a Dram Shop Law in place. Dram Shop Law states that if a driver is over-served by a bar and causes an accident, anyone injured in the drunk driving accident may be eligible to file a claim against the bar. Dram Shop Laws are different in every state, so it is important to speak with your drunk driving attorney about your state’s laws. Speaking with your drunk driving accident lawyer allows for you to be fully informed, obtain accurate legal information and get a professional opinion on whether or not you are eligible to file a claim against the bar, the drunk driver, or both of these parties.
Eligible Damages Under Dram Shop Law
If you’re involved in a car accident, there are several damages that you may be entitled to recover. Damages include medical expenses that stemmed from the drunk driving accident, lost wages from not being able to work because of injuries, pain and suffering caused by the crash and loss of affection towards your spouse.
Want to Know More About Your State’s Dram Shop Laws? Speak with a Lawyer About Your Case
Your lawyer can help you understand your state’s specific Dram Shop Laws, explain how they apply to your case, help you write a demand letter and file a claim against the driver and establishment that served them. The demand letter includes details from the accident, damages that you are claiming and the grounds that you have to recover compensation. If you are not happy with the settlement amount that the other driver’s insurance company offers you, your lawyer will negotiate until you receive a settlement that you’re satisfied with. If the insurance company refuses to budge on the settlement, you can discuss taking your case to court and opening up a drunk driving accident lawsuit. If you are ready to speak with a lawyer about the options available for your drunk driving accident claim, contact the Dixon Injury Firm to discuss your case today