Liability for Drunk Driving Accidents: Drivers and Dram Shops

Drunk Driving Accidents Liability

Drunk Driving Accidents Claim Thousands of Lives Each Year

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that in 2017, one person died every 48 minutes because of a drunk driving accident. Death rates from drunk driving accidents have been falling for three decades. However, there are still thousands of people dying and suffering lifelong injuries because of drunk driving accidents.

When a drunk driver is involved in an accident, he or she will likely be responsible, at least in part, for the crash. Drunk driving is illegal. Even if a driver is below the unlawful limit, it is possible that alcohol was a contributing factor to the accident.

Our lawyers at Alonso Krangle, LLP have experience handling drunk driving accident claims for injured victims. If you or someone you love was hurt or killed by a drunk driver, you must have strong advocates on your side. Our goal is to ensure that you collect the maximum amount of damages the law allows.

Alcohol Impairs Brain Function

Why does drinking alcohol lead to car accidents? Because it impairs brain function, including thinking, muscle coordination, and reasoning. These things are all necessary to drive a vehicle safely.

The more alcohol that is in a driver’s system, the more negatively their driving ability is affected. Alcohol levels are measured by BAC, which stands for blood alcohol level. According to the NTHSA, the concentration of alcohol in a driver’s system has “predictable effects” on their driving ability. For example;

.02 BAC causes people to feel relaxed and experience a slight loss of judgment
The predictable effect on driving ability is divided attention and decreased visual function
.05 BAC causes difficulty focusing, impaired judgment, lower alertness, the release of inhibitions, exaggerated good feeling.
The predicable effect on driving ability includes reduced coordination, slower reaction time, difficulty steering.
.08 BAC causes impaired memory and reasoning, loss of self-control, poor balance, trouble focusing, and slow reaction time.
The predictable effect on driving is impaired concentration and perception, poor speed control, difficulty processing information.
.10 BAC causes noticeable deterioration of reaction time and control, slurred speech, poor coordination, and slowed thinking
The predictable effect on driving is reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately, inattention, difficulty handling the vehicle safely

Who is Liable for Injuries and Fatalities Caused by Drunk Driving?

In an accident where the driver’s BAC is above the legal limit, or the results show that her ability to drive was impaired, you might be able to hold her accountable for your injuries. Drivers have a duty to drive safely and to exercise care not to injure others. Driving drunk breaches that duty. It means the driver acted negligently by getting behind the wheel of the car while intoxicated, putting others in danger.

If a drunk driver injured you or a family member, you could try to collect monetary damages from the driver and/or the insurance company by proving negligence caused the accident.

You might also consider finding out if another entity played a part in causing your accident. Dram Shop laws allow the victim of a drunk driving accident to hold the bar or restaurant that served alcohol to the driver. If the victim can show that the bartender, bouncer, owner, or waitress was negligent or reckless with regard to the drunk driver, the establishment might be legally responsible for compensating you for your injuries.

Some situations that might lead to Dram Shop liability are:

  • The establishment did not check ID
  • The staff should have known the patron was too drunk to drive
  • The staff knew the patron was too intoxicated to drive
  • The bartender continued to serve the driver despite apparent signs of intoxication
  • The staff saw the patron get into his car after drinking copious amounts of alcohol
  • The bartender or waitress served the patron after hours
  • The bartender served the patron an unreasonable amount of alcohol.

If a drunk driver leaves a party and causes an accident, the host of the party may be liable for resulting injuries. This is called Social Host liability, and it is similar to dram shop liability. A host who serves alcohol is potentially responsible for the actions of its guests and the harm they cause.

Alcohol-Related Crashes Injure Thousands of Victims

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, driving under the influence is the leading cause of death on the roadways. Every two minutes, someone is hurt in a drunk driving accident. Drunk driving causes nearly 300,000 injuries each year and over 10,000 fatalities. Some of the common injuries include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Disfigurement
  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Amputation

These injuries can result in tremendous medical costs, years of treatments and therapy, and the inability to work and care for a family. Shouldn’t someone be held responsible?

Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer Who Handles Drunk Driving Claims

Hiring a personal injury with experience working drunk driving cases can help you secure the maximum amount of money the law allows. The lawyers at Alonso Krangle, LLP can focus on the work while you focus on getting well and recovering from your injuries. We can:

  • Negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you don’t settle your case for less than it is worth
  • Represent you at trial
  • Collect evidence including police reports, witness statements, medical records, and receipts
  • Document the value of your damages

Having the right personal injury lawyers working on your behalf can give you the best chance to collect damages for all of your injuries including lost income, future income, medical costs, pain and suffering, and emotional trauma.

Contact Alonso Krangle, LLP to File a Claim After You are Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident

Call our office to today and find out if you still have time to file a claim to collect damages for your injuries. Tell us your story, and we can provide you with a free case evaluation. Call Alonso Krangle, LLP at 516-350-5555.