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Can Bars, Restaurants, and Party Hosts Be Sued for Drunk Driving Crashes?

Whether it’s a restaurant or bar that’s open to the public, a private party, or even a small get-together among friends and family, there’s a good chance that alcohol will be consumed—and not always responsibly. When drunk drivers cause auto accidents, they typically became intoxicated somewhere other than their vehicles, and they were likely served alcohol by others.

Although drunk drivers made the decision to get behind the wheel of their vehicles while intoxicated and should carry the blame for their crashes, others may be partially liable if they served them knowing they were already impaired and likely to drive home. In Alabama and other states, this is called a dram shop law.

You Can Sue Bars and Restaurants If Drunk Drivers Leave the Premises and Hurt You

If you’re injured in a drunk driving accident, your claim may involve a second party—the establishment that served the person who hit you. Bartenders and servers in bars and restaurants have a legal responsibility to stop serving people who are noticeably intoxicated. In addition, they’re also required to abstain from selling or serving alcohol to minors or people who aren’t legally allowed to drink.

When they don’t uphold those responsibilities and the person who was served alcohol causes a crash, they can be held liable via the state’s dram shop law.

You Can Also Sue Party Hosts for Drunk Driving Crashes

Although people hosting private parties and gatherings don’t have to abide by industry-related restrictions like bars and restaurants do, they can still be held liable if they overserve guests and allow them to drive home knowing they’re intoxicated. They can also be held liable if they serve minors and allow them to drive home after they’ve consumed any amount of alcohol.

Unlike drunk driving accidents where the at-fault party left a bar or restaurant, these cases don’t fall under the state’s dram shop law. They do, however, fall under social host liability laws, which many people don’t know about. That results in many claims going unfiled and many preventable drunk driving crashes occurring every year in our state.

Dram Shop and Social Liability Claims Are Typically Secondary Claims

When determining liability and compensation after drunk driving crashes, it’s important to note that drunk drivers themselves almost always carry the majority of the blame. That means that your primary claim and focus should be on the driver who hit you and their insurance policy. But you can also receive compensation from the party that provided alcohol to the drunk driver.

However, proving liability of a bar, restaurant, or party host can be difficult. While a DUI charge is typically straightforward evidence that the driver who hit you was intoxicated, there may be little to no evidence that the same driver was supplied alcohol when they shouldn’t have been.

Get Our Experienced Lawyers on Your Side

At The Vance Law Firm, our Montgomery car accident lawyers know that car crash claims are already complex, especially when it comes to proving the other driver’s negligence. When you factor in a dram shop law or social host liability claim, they can be even more complex and challenging. Don’t go it alone—you need experienced legal help as soon as possible after your crash.

Contact us for a free consultation to find out what your next steps are. We know what you’re going through, and we know what evidence to collect to maximize your chances of getting full compensation. And because we work on a contingency fee, you owe us nothing unless we get money for you. Call today.

The Vance Law Firm
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