In addition to the at-fault driver, it is possible to hold other people or entities responsible for injuries caused in a drunk driving accident. Under Georgia’s dram shop laws, sellers and servers of alcohol can be sued for monetary compensation if they have acted negligently.
Dram shop liability refers to the exposure commercial establishments such as restaurants, bars, liquor stores, hotels, or clubs have related to the sale of alcohol to customers. Georgia’s dram shop laws make a commercial drinking establishment like a pub or club liable for damages if the establishment serves alcohol to minors under the age of 21. The laws also allow an alcohol provider to be held liable when an establishment serves alcohol to a person who is noticeably intoxicated and is likely to drive a car after.
It is important to understand that an experienced dram shop attorney often makes all the difference in these complex cases. For example, the dram shop laws in Georgia do require that commercial establishment employees be aware that an intoxicated person intends to operate a motor vehicle after drinking. That makes it more challenging for drunk driving accident victims and their families to hold a commercial establishment legally liable for damages. Staff members frequently claim that they had no way of knowing how the intoxicated person would travel after leaving the drinking hole.
Another challenge that victims of drunk driving accident may face when they attempt to file a personal injury claim is the issue of whether the person was “noticeably intoxicated” at the time. A person may show signs of intoxication such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, fumbling actions, and unsteady gait. However, other persons may be legally intoxicated and unable to drive a motor vehicle safely, but may not show any external signs of intoxication. In such case, the business may try to protect itself against liability by claiming that the driver showed no signs of noticeable intoxication.
It’s important to get sound legal advice when you are attempting to sue a commercial entity for any type of claim. In dram shop cases, however, having the best access to evidence, experts, and experienced legal counsel will give you an advantage as your case works through the court system.