Dram shop laws, which refer to the body of statutes governing the legalities around serving alcohol to the public, can play a role in personal injury lawsuits that involve car or truck accidents allegedly caused by the drunk driving of one party. While dram shop laws differ from state to state, in general, they can allow a plaintiff (i.e., the victim who is injured in a drunk driving car accident) to collect damages from the establishment (i.e., the bar or restaurant) that served the defendant alcohol. Specifically, in order to collect damages from the owner of a bar or restaurant that over served the defendant alcohol, the plaintiff must prove that:
- The server at the establishment knew – or should have known – that the defendant was intoxicated. Signs of intoxication that a server of alcohol is supposed to recognize include slurred speech and poor balance (among other indicators). Proving that the defendant was over served alcohol typically lies in witness statements, the results of blood alcohol testing and/or the police report following the accident.
- The defendant’s intoxication was the primary cause of the accident that resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. Proving this fact may require the plaintiff to establish the fact that he himself was not drunk or driving recklessly at the time of the accident.
In some cases, dram shop laws do not strictly apply to the owners of bars or restaurants that serve alcohol; they can also extend to situations in which employers host parties where alcohol is served to employees, social gatherings a private residences, etc.
At the Law Office of Mike Hulen, PC, our trusted Denver personal injury attorneys have a proven track record of establishing negligence in car accident cases and properly invoking dram shop laws to help accident victims secure the maximum possible settlement for their injuries and losses. We encourage victims to meet with us for a free initial consult to learn more about their legal rights and to receive a thorough evaluation of their case. If you have been injured in any type of accident that involved the intoxication and negligence of another party, call us at (303) 932-8666 to get your case started at no upfront cost.