A Bar That Served The Drunk Driver May Be Legally Responsible
When a motor vehicle accident is caused by a drunk driver in North Carolina, it is usually very obvious who will be held liable – the drunk behind the wheel. What many people may not realize, though, is that liability can extend to individuals or businesses responsible for allowing the driver to drink too much before getting behind the wheel of a car or for serving alcohol to minors who then cause a crash.
Under North Carolina’s dram shop laws, bar owners, restaurants and even individuals who host parties at their homes may be held liable for compensating victims of drunk drivers. Finding and suing the responsible parties often requires diligent investigation and aggressive legal action to hold them accountable. Turn to Britton Law in Fayetteville for experienced, effective representation in your drunk driving accident case resulting in injury or wrongful death litigation.
What Exactly Is Dram Shop Liability?
Dram shop liability requires evidence that the liquor establishment or social host served alcohol to someone who was visibly intoxicated or under the legal drinking age. Our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience helping our clients recover the full and fair amount of money damages they are entitled to – from every party responsible for the negligence. We can help you recover money damages for:
- Medical treatment and ongoing physical therapy and care
- Lost earnings during your recovery and over a lifetime
- Pain and suffering
Under North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 1D, parties found guilty of “egregiously wrongful acts” may be ordered to pay punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages for injuries resulting from a car crash. This liability may extend to bars and restaurants, and other social hosts if it can be determined that gross negligence or criminal misconduct was evident in serving excessive alcohol. These lawsuits are tough to prove, but we are skilled and experienced lawyers who can present a well-documented and compelling case for compensation.
Answers To Dram Shop Liability Questions From Our Clients
Many people have never heard of dram shop liability until they have a claim on their hands. To provide more information that you might find helpful, we have taken the time to answer a few common questions that we hear every day.
What does dram shop mean?
A dram shop is the legal term for a facility that serves alcohol. In the past, taverns used to sell alcohol by the dram – about the size of a small shot. Today, a dram shop can be a bar, restaurant, café or any other business that serves alcoholic drinks.
What is North Carolina’s dram shop law?
Our state has strict laws when it comes to dram shop liability. If a bar or its employee knowingly continues to serve alcohol to an intoxicated person, it could be held liable for that person’s damages or the damages they cause to other people or property. In North Carolina, dram shop liability also extends to selling or serving alcohol to minors.
What is the statute of limitation for dram shop claims?
If you are interested in filing a dram shop claim, you must do so within one year of the date of the incident. If you miss this deadline, you forfeit the right to recover compensation for your damages.
How can a bartender be held liable?
The individuals who work at a bar can also face consequences. To hold a bartender liable in a dram shop claim, you must prove that:
- The bartender knew that the customer to whom they served alcohol was already intoxicated.
- The bartender should have reasonably known that the customer to whom they served alcohol was already intoxicated.
- As a result of the bartender serving additional alcohol to the customer, you have compensable damages.
Proving liability is not easy. It takes the careful, diligent research of lawyers who regularly handle car accident injury claims that involve dram shop liability.
Schedule Your Free Consultation With A Helpful Attorney
Call Britton Law at 910-401-3356 or use our online contact form to arrange a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We will review your case and help you understand your options. We charge no upfront fees, and you will not pay us if we are unable to recover money damages in a settlement or jury award. We represent accident victims in Cumberland County and surrounding counties of North Carolina.