How you can sue a bar after a drunk driving car accident

Someone who drives a car even though they are drunk and causes a car accident is liable for the injuries they caused. But as the victim of a drunk driver, you might be able to seek compensation from another party: the bar, restaurant or nightclub that overserved the driver.

Like most states, Kentucky has a dram shop law. “Dram shop” means any business that sells alcohol. Under Kentucky’s dram shop law, establishments like bars and restaurants that serve alcohol cannot serve a customer if “a reasonable person… should know that the person served is already intoxicated.” If the customer is slurring their words, losing their balance, or showing other clear signs that they are intoxicated, but the establishment serves them another drink anyway, the business could be legally responsible if the customer later drives drunk and hurts somebody.

Why go after the bar too?

The law says the drunk driver is the person to hold “primarily liable” for your injuries. But if they got drunk at a bar before the crash, you should consider suing the bar too. Businesses like bars and restaurants often can afford to pay more in compensation than an individual and their auto insurance. For someone with a lifetime disability, or a family grieving a death, having more options to seek compensation from can help you get what you need to avoid financial ruin.

Proving that a bar or restaurant knew (or should have known) they were overserving a customer can be tricky. A skilled personal injury attorney will know what evidence to look for to help you make your case.


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