More on drunk driving accidents: dram shop and social host liability

Friday April 25, 2014

This is a follow-up to a post we did a month ago on drunk driving accidents.

As we noted in our March 24 post, the relative tolerance for impaired that marked earlier eras has long since past. Research evidence suggests that even so-called buzzed (not legally drunk) driving is unsafe.

In other words, these days, if someone like Don Driver from “Mad Men” wants to tie one on and drive and drive home, it had better be with a designated – entirely sober – driver.

But there are still far too many car accidents caused by alcohol impairment. In today’s post, let’s look at some other aspects of this problem

Nationally, the overall number of traffic fatalities in crashes involved alcohol-impaired driving was over 10,000. The figure is from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),

A national total of more than 10,000 deaths means there was an average of more than one fatality linked to alcohol impairment every hour across the country.

In Connecticut, as in other states, there are legal actions available to people who are injured in such accidents. It is also possible to for the executor of the estate of someone killed in such an accident to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.

Bars and restaurants that serve alcohol to already-intoxicated patrons can be sued in certain cases, based on a theory of liability known as dram shop. Dram shop is also potentially available as a basis for recovery when a bar or restaurant serves someone who is not of legal drinking age.

Of course, it isn’t only at bars and restaurants that people imbibe. A lot of alcohol consumption occurs in people’s homes, especially at parties. In Connecticut, homeowners who allow underage drinking on their property may be liable when underage drivers consume alcohol on the homeowners’ property and then drive off and cause accidents.

Source: For more information about our practice in this area, please visit our page on drunk driving accidents.

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