Dram Shop | DUI & Personal Injury Lawyer Ellijay, Ga
Dram Shop Blog
Victims of a car accident at the hands of a drunk driver are often left with many questions. Where do we go from here? Who is responsible for the accident? How am I going to cover the medical expenses? Most people will go after the drunk driver directly, but most Georgians do not know that you can sue the establishment that served the drunk driver the alcohol as well. This is important to note when the damages and medical liability might exceed the amount that you can recover from the driver. Listed after this are the requirements that must be met in order to sue the establishment.
A “Dram Shop” is a bar, tavern, or similar commercial establishment where alcoholic beverages are sold for the purposes of the statute: A person must be served alcohol by the establishment.
The intoxication that leads to an accident must be from alcoholic beverages served at the establishment There must be proof that the person served was intoxicated or a minor
It is shown that the establishment knew or should have known that the person they were serving was underage or severely intoxicated. The intoxication caused the injuries suffered or the death.
Can you prove they were served alcohol by the establishment?
To start you would need to have evidence that the driver that caused your damages were served as an establishment that furnishes alcohol. This includes but is not limited to bars, restaurants, malls, etc. The next step would be finding evidence to prove that the driver was served directly by the establishment, if you can prove that they purchased the drink themselves from the establishment then you have met this element.
Can you prove they were intoxicated by the alcohol served by the establishment?
This is a timing-sensitive issue; you must be able to prove that the alcohol that was served to the driver was what caused them to become so intoxicated, resulting in the accident. To explain this simply, the longer the period between the last drink that was served by the establishment to the driver and the accident, the less likely you are to meet this element.
Can you prove they were visibly intoxicated or underage when served by the establishment?
This element has two parts and two ways to prove that the establishment is at fault. If the driver was intoxicated and underage then you have proven this element and there are no additional steps. However, if the driver was of drinking age you must show that the driver was intoxicated to the point where they would be showing visible signs of intoxication. This is more based on how many drinks you can prove that they had than their actual blood alcohol content (BAC). If you can prove that they drank a substantial amount of alcohol and were continued to be served then you have satisfied this element, but it has to be proven with evidence, not an assumption.
Did the establishment know, or should they have known that you were underage or visibly intoxicated?
You do not need to have evidence that the establishment actually knew that the driver was either underage or severely intoxicated, you have to have evidence that any reasonable person would be able to say the driver was either (a) underage or (b) severely intoxicated. There also is a requirement that the establishment had able time to see if the driver was intoxicated if they came in for a single drink then left this is probably not enough to meet this element, but if you can prove that the driver was at the establishment for an extended period drinking then this element would be met.
Was the intoxication the cause of the damages and/or death suffered?
In order to prove this, you must be able to show that if not for the alcohol that was consumed at the establishment the driver never would have gotten into the accident with you. If you can show that there is a direct link between the establishment serving the drink, the driver becoming intoxicated, and the driver causing the accident with you resulting in your injuries then you have met this element.
Where to go from here?
]In order to ensure that your claims against the driver and the establishment are as legally sound as possible, you will need to hire a competent Personal Injury and DUI attorney. Here, at Teague Law, we pride ourselves on providing the best legal advice and attorney care that we can to families in their time of need. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a DUI accident and believe that you have a legal claim against the establishment that served them, we would love to represent you.