Recently, fatal accidents in the United States have averaged right around 40,000 per year. This is concerning because it is an increase, and drunk driving accidents are one of the reasons that we have been seeing more fatalities on the roads. Reports indicate that roughly one out of every three fatal crashes involves the use of alcohol.
It’s clear that the drunk driver is responsible, but they may not be the only one. In states with dram shop laws, the establishments that sell alcohol are expected to refuse sales to those who are dangerously impaired. For example, if an intoxicated patron is about to leave a bar and drive home, but they order one more shot for the road, the bartender should not sell them that shot. If they do, this can create some liability for the establishment, along with the driver. So does Kentucky have these laws?
A complex and important law
This law can be a bit complicated, because the official statute in Kentucky starts out by noting that those who sell alcohol and intoxicating beverages should not be liable for injuries or deaths that happened as a result.
However, there is one exception to the slaw, and that is when “a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances should know that the person served is already intoxicated at the time of serving.”
This creates something of a gray area, and it’s why these cases get complicated. Should that bartender have known that the person was too intoxicated to have another drink? Or did they honestly think that the individual wasn’t all that intoxicated? Would a reasonable person have thought they were making a mistake selling more drinks to someone who was clearly impaired?
We certainly know that numerous people leave bars and restaurants every single day while they are over the legal limit. If it seems that the person providing the alcohol was negligent in considering the level of intoxication and contributed to the car accident that resulted, they may be liable for some of the costs stemming from that accident. Those involved in a case like this must know exactly what legal options they have.