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Is the dram shop act relevant to your case?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Dram Shop Act

While drunk driving accident are unfortunately not uncommon in Georgia and elsewhere, when you are a victim of a DUI accident, it can feel unexpected, major and life-altering all at the same time. In the immediacy, you are focused on your injuries and wellbeing; however, once the initial shock has worn off, your priority turns into understanding the accident and what rights you have.

In a drunk driving accident, the motorist is considered negligent and liable for the crash. But could liability extend to others? The simple answer is maybe. By assessing where the motorist was consuming alcohol and who they encountered prior to getting behind the wheel, the dram shop act may be applicable.

Dram shop act explained

In simple terms, the dram shop act considers the liability of businesses that sell alcoholic beverages when the individual they served caused injuries and damages as a result of their intoxication. As such, bars, restaurants and alcohol retailers could be held accountable for the deaths, injuries and damages caused by a customer’s intoxication.

Thus, those harmed or impacted by a drunk driving accident should consider if cause and liability extend beyond the motorist. It might be possible to hold other parties liable for the incident and harms it caused.

Proving liability

The fact that the motorist just left a bar or recently purchased alcohol from a retailer is not enough to generate a causal and liability connection. When the dram shop act is applied to a legal action, proof often relies on providing the proof of alcohol sale to the intoxicated customer, evidence of injuries suffered in the accident, proof that intoxication was deemed a cause of the harms and damages suffered and evidence of a causal relationship between the alcohol sale and the intoxication of the customer.

Additionally, the obvious intoxication test might be applicable. This suggests that the retailer knew or should have known the customer was intoxicated to a point where consuming any additional alcohol was likely to cause danger to themselves or other. Thus, liability could occur on the basis of this test.

Falling victim to a drunk driving accident can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience. While it is likely a civil action will seek to hold the motorist liable, it is also important to consider the liability of others. The dram shop act might be relevant to your matter, and a legal professional can help you gain a better understanding of your legal rights and options.