Third Party Liability for Drunk Driving Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every 53 minutes, one person loses his or her life in an alcohol-related crash. Injuries and deaths caused by a person’s reckless decision to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can take a serious physical, emotional, and financial toll on injured parties and their families. Fortunately, in Georgia, drunk drivers as well as third parties who supplied those individuals with alcohol can be required to compensate victims for their losses, so if you live in Cobb County and you or a loved one were recently injured in an alcohol-related crash, it is critical to speak with an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney who can help you seek the compensation that will allow you and your family to begin the long process of recovery.

Dram Shop Liability

Although most people are aware that drunk drivers can be held responsible for causing injuries to other people on the road, few are aware that third parties who supplied the at-fault driver with alcohol can also be required to compensate the victim. This legal theory is known as dram shop liability and applies to restaurants, bars, liquor stores, and other establishments that are licensed to sell alcohol.

In some cases, these types of establishments can be held liable for injuries caused by a drunk driver if they:

  • Serve alcohol to a minor, knowing that he or she will soon be driving; or
  • Serve alcohol to someone who is noticeably intoxicated, despite knowing that the individual will soon be operating a vehicle.

Establishing that a third party is partly at fault in causing an accident requires the plaintiff and their Atlanta attorney to provide evidence that the server knew that an intoxicated customer intended to drive in the near future. This can be difficult to demonstrate and may require witness testimony. The injured party will also need to establish that the driver was noticeably intoxicated when he or she was being served. This could include evidence of some or all of the following characteristics:

  • A lack of motor skills;
  • Bloodshot eyes;
  • Slurred speech;
  • Stumbling; and
  • A pervasive smell of alcohol.

If a plaintiff can demonstrate the establishment’s fault in serving the intoxicated driver, he or she may be able to collect compensation for damages, including:

  • Medical costs;
  • Property loss;
  • Lost wages;
  • Pain and suffering; and
  • Wrongful death damages.

However, in order to even have the option of obtaining this compensation, the injured party will need to retain an Atlanta lawyer and file a claim within two years of the accident or risk having his or her case barred.

Contact the Angell Law Firm Today to Speak With an Experienced Car Accident Attorney 

At the Angell Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping our clients defend their interests, whether in a courtroom or during settlement proceedings, so if you were recently injured in a car crash and have questions or concerns about collecting compensation for your losses, please contact our Atlanta lawyers by calling (770) 217-4954 and a member of our legal team will help you set up a free consultation.

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