Bars and restaurants can be liable for drunk driving crashes

There are warnings about drunk driving in every driver’s license education course. There are also cautionary tales in every form of media and even notices about drunk driving enforcement on highway-adjacent billboards. People who get behind the wheel after drinking too much know the risk that they take and are obviously liable for the outcome of that decision.

When a drunk driver causes a crash that results in massive property damage or serious injuries to someone else, they are ultimately the one responsible for their decision to drive after drinking. The people affected by their illegal actions can file a claim against the drunk driver’s motor vehicle liability insurance policy.

Sometimes, those drivers don’t have active insurance. Other times, the coverage they carry is too low to fully pay for the damages they caused. In such cases, the people affected by drunk driving crashes need to look to other sources of compensation to pay for the losses they suffered. Businesses that serve alcohol can sometimes be responsible for drunk driving crashes in Kentucky. 

Businesses have to follow the law when serving alcohol

There are numerous restrictions on the legal service of alcohol in Kentucky, and maintaining a liquor license means following all of those restrictions. Businesses have to comply with many rules, including restrictions on when they sell alcohol and which customers are allowed to buy alcohol.

When a business breaks specific parts of state liquor laws, it may be partially legally responsible if a customer causes a drunk-driving crash. The people affected by the crash could bring a dram shop claim against a bar or restaurant that violated alcohol laws.

How dram shop claims work

Businesses can be partially liable for losses in car crashes caused by their customers if they serve someone under the age of 21. Additionally, they can be liable if waitstaff serves another drink to someone who is clearly, visibly drunk.

In such circumstances, those affected by the drunk driving crash that results can bring a dram shop claim against the business. Sometimes, there will be liability insurance coverage that could pay the claim outside of court. Other times, the case will need to go to civil court.

Understanding that you can hold businesses accountable if their illegal actions help cause a drunk driving crash can give your family another opportunity for justice.


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