Could an alcohol vendor be liable for a DUI accident?

Liability for a car accident can often extend beyond just those involved in a collision. Third-party, or “vicarious” liability, actually can apply in certain instances. And, extended liability potential can also include bars and restaurants that have over-served a patron who has been involved in a crash in a reasonably short time frame after leaving their establishment. This damage liability is actually codified in the Kentucky Revised Statutes, also known as the “dram shop” law. The name comes from the first type of legislation of this manner used in England, and it refers to bars and restaurants as “dram shops” as opposed to eateries or taverns.

How a dram shop claim can occur

All business establishments that serve alcohol have a legal responsibility to adhere to the public intoxication law when serving customers. Bars and restaurants are chief among these businesses, and failure to stop serving an intoxicated customer can place them in a position of vicarious liability when the customer leaves the establishment beyond the legal intoxication limit of .08% BAC and drives away. Just as in any other personal injury claim in Kentucky, dram shop liability must be proven by legal representatives for an injured plaintiff in an accident injury case.

Potential financial damages

Determining equitable financial damages can be a challenge even for personal injury lawyers when dram shop liability can be proven. Each case is based on the particular injury occurrence timeline leading up to the auto accident time. General damages for long-term impact are primarily sought, but punitive damages can also be awarded in some egregious wrongful death lawsuits.

Anyone who has been injured by an intoxicated individual who has been served too much alcohol at any establishment should seek legal counsel immediately following any injury event. The law is in the favor of the injured, and the right attorney can often establish dram shop liability when effective evidence is available.


FindLaw Network