A bar could face liability for overserving a patron who later caused an accident due to driving under the influence (DUI). However, every state has different requirements for proving liability in a DUI case involving overserving. A skilled DUI accident attorney in your area can explain your legal rights and advise you on your next steps.
When Is a Bar Liable for Overserving Someone Who Caused a DUI Accident?
In most car accident cases, the injured party sues the at-fault driver for compensation. While the at-fault driver is often held responsible for their own actions, a bar or restaurant that served the driver could also be held accountable.
Bars, restaurants, and other facilities that serve alcohol have a duty in most states to avoid over serving patrons. A bartender who serves someone who is visibly impaired could be held accountable for an accident that occurs as a result. You could hold the bar liable for a DUI accident if:
- A bar employee served an obviously intoxicated person.
- A bar employee served a person under the legal drinking age.
- The state and local laws hold bars liable for overserving.
An attorney familiar with your area’s DUI laws can help you understand your legal rights and determine whether you have grounds to sue the bar for your injuries.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Proving a Bar’s Negligence in a DUI Accident Case
In a state that allows it, suing a bar for a DUI accident relies on proving that the bar was negligent. Negligence in a DUI injury case means proving that the bar’s employees or policies showed a lack of care.
Bartenders and others serving alcohol have a duty in some states to ensure the safety of others. They meet this duty of care by limiting alcohol to those who are visibly intoxicated. To prove negligence, you must show that:
- The bar employee or business had a duty of care under state or local law to avoid serving visibly intoxicated patrons.
- They violated their duty of care by serving a visibly intoxicated person.
- Their violation of their duty of care caused the driver’s intoxication, which resulted in your DUI accident.
- You suffered damages as a result of negligence, such as medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Evidence You Can Use After a DUI Accident Caused by an Overserved Driver
If the laws in your state allow you to hold the bar responsible for overserving, a car accident attorney can review your case details to establish fault. The evidence they may use includes:
- Witness statements from people who observed the driver being overserved
- Photos and videos of the accident scene
- Blood alcohol content (BAC) testing, field sobriety test results, and police reports
- Testimony from bar employees about the bar’s serving policies and procedures
Do Bars Face Penalties for Overserving Someone that Caused a DUI Accident?
In states where overserving is prohibited, the bar employee and their employer may face criminal charges. They could be barred from serving alcohol, have their license to serve suspended, or they could face fines. The penalties for overserving drivers who cause DUI accidents differ depending on the specific laws in your state. You could speak with a DUI attorney in your area to learn how your state’s laws apply to your case.
What Factors Affect a DUI Lawsuit Against a Bar?
The most significant factor that determines whether you can sue a bar for a DUI accident is the state laws in your area. Some states hold the drunk driver fully responsible for accidents they cause while intoxicated. Others will hold a bar accountable if you can prove that the bar employee continued serving the driver, even when the driver was visibly drunk.
What Damages Can You Pursue After a DUI Accident Due to Overserving?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol significantly impairs the driver’s response time and judgment. As a result, drunk driving accidents often cause severe injury and even death. If you suffered injuries because of an overserved drunk driver, you deserve fair compensation for your injuries. Losses you could pursue in a DUI accident include:
- Hospital bills, surgery costs, and physical therapy
- In-home nursing care and domestic assistance
- Medical equipment, prosthetics, and assistive devices
- Lost current and future income
- Loss of business and career
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
If you lost someone you love due to an overserved DUI driver, you could pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Such suits allow the relative or personal representative of the deceased person to claim damages related to the loss of their loved one, including funeral expenses, burial costs, medical expenses, loss of support, and pain and suffering.
Do You Need an Attorney to Sue a Bar for Damages Incurred in a DUI Accident?
Although most states allow you to file a personal injury lawsuit without legal representation, an attorney can be valuable. An established DUI accident law firm has the knowledge and resources to support you throughout the legal process. They can help with the following:
- Determining damages
- Gathering evidence to prove the bar’s negligence
- Negotiating settlements with the responsible parties and their insurance carriers
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the DUI driver and the bar that served them
- Handling calls and correspondence about your DUI injury case
When you suffer injuries in a DUI accident, you may have grounds to pursue compensation from multiple parties, including filing claims with the driver’s car insurance and the bar’s liability insurance carrier. While you recover from your losses, you should not face aggressive legal representatives and stubborn insurance carriers. A skilled DUI attorney will know how to handle the negotiations and legal filings so you can focus on your health.
Contact a DUI Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
When you suffer injuries in a DUI accident caused by overserving, you could file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver and the bar responsible for the driver’s intoxication. A personal injury lawsuit allows you to recover compensatory damages for the losses you suffered due to the careless or reckless behavior of the driver or bar employee.
The skilled DUI attorneys at the Morris Bart law firm can help you understand your legal rights following a DUI accident due to overserving. Contact us today to speak with a DUI accident attorney during a free consultation.
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