Going for the Source: How Liquor Liability Laws May Help in Your Fight for Personal Injury Compensation
When someone gets behind the wheel of a car when intoxicated, we all know that he or she can damage or end more lives than their own. But does the liability for injuries caused by a drunk-driving accident also extend beyond the single operator of a single vehicle? In a word, yes.
Liquor Liability and Dram Shop Laws: Why Your Injury Can Be a Bar’s Fault
Rhode Island, like most states, has a series of laws about business liquor liability known as “dram shop laws.” The term comes from another name for a Victorian-Era gin parlor.
Under dram shop laws, businesses such as bars and restaurants are required not to serve alcohol to an intoxicated person nor to allow someone to become too intoxicated. Under these laws, businesses that serve or sell alcohol can be held liable for injuries or damage caused by a person intoxicated on that alcohol. This includes both injuries caused by drunk driving or by a physical assault by an unruly drunk patron.
In addition to dram shop laws, a business can also be sued for common negligence if an obviously drunk patron goes on to injure someone under in the influence. Between common negligence laws and dram shop laws, there is significant legal standing for someone injured by an intoxicated person, whether on the road or off, to sue the business that served that person.
Liability Insurance May Be Better Than a Driver’s Personal Injury Insurance
Under dram shop laws, businesses that sell alcohol are required to have liquor liability insurance. The minimum levels of coverage are generally $250,000 per injured person and $500, 000 total coverage per accident. In practice, though, coverage levels can go much higher, into the millions on a per-accident basis. This is good news for personal injury victims.
Since minimum coverage levels for personal auto insurance are much lower, and since some drivers may be uninsured entirely, pursuing a claim against a business liquor liability policy can be the more productive move when trying to obtain compensation for expensive medical treatment. A knowledgeable and creative personal injury attorney can examine these and other avenues to hold all liable parties accountable and get you the compensation you need to rebuild your life.
Personal Injury Attorneys You Can Trust for DUI Injuries
If you or a loved one were injured by a drunk driver, you need an attorney who understands every layer and flavor of liability—while bringing you the compassion you need during this difficult time. Call our office today to discuss your unique situation. We can form a plan to get you the compensation you or your family needs to move past a drunk driving injury.