When involved in a drunk driving accident, the immediate thought is often to seek legal recourse against the intoxicated driver. However, in Connecticut, there’s another layer of potential responsibility that many may not be aware of – DRAM Shop Laws.
These regulations can play a significant role when pursuing a personal injury claim related to a drunk driving accident.
If you believe that DRAM shop laws apply to your case, our law firm can help. Contact Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers to learn more about your legal rights and options.
What Are DRAM Shop Laws?
DRAM Shop Laws are legal regulations that hold establishments, like bars and restaurants, responsible if they sell alcoholic beverages to visibly intoxicated individuals who then cause harm to others due to their intoxication. Originating from the term “dram” — a unit of measure for spirits — these laws emphasize the duty of alcohol-selling establishments to serve responsibly.
Under DRAM Shop Laws, the establishment that overserved them can be held legally accountable if an intoxicated patron causes an accident, such as a drunk driving incident. This means that victims of accidents caused by intoxicated individuals might not only pursue claims against the drunk driver but also against the establishment that negligently served them.
Connecticut’s DRAM Shop Law Explained
“If any person, by himself or his agent, sells any alcoholic liquor to an intoxicated person, and such purchaser, in consequence of such intoxication, after that injures the person or property of another, such seller shall pay just damages to the person injured, up to the amount of $250,000, or persons injured in consequence of such intoxication up to an aggregate amount of $250,000.”
This means if an establishment like a bar, restaurant, or liquor store sells alcohol to someone already visibly intoxicated. If that person causes an accident, the establishment can be liable for the damages, up to $250,000.
Why Are DRAM Shop Laws Important?
You may wonder why these laws are essential and what difference they make. Some of the reasons they play an important in personal injury claims include:
- Holding Establishments Accountable: DRAM Shop Laws emphasize the importance of responsible alcohol serving. Establishments are expected to train their staff adequately to recognize signs of intoxication and refuse service accordingly.
- Increasing Compensation Sources: If you’re the victim of a drunk driving accident, multiple parties may be liable. Including the establishment under DRAM Shop Laws might give victims an additional source to claim compensation, especially if the intoxicated driver lacks sufficient insurance coverage.
- Promoting Public Safety: By putting financial penalties on establishments, these laws encourage businesses to practice safer alcohol-selling and serving behaviors, indirectly reducing drunk driving incidents.
How to Prove a DRAM Shop Claim in Connecticut
Pursuing a personal injury claim based on Connecticut’s DRAM Shop Law requires specific evidence:
- Proof of Sale: It must be established that the establishment sold alcohol to the intoxicated driver.
- Visible Intoxication: It’s not enough to prove the sale of alcohol; you must also demonstrate that the individual showed clear signs of intoxication at the time of purchase.
- Causal Link: There should be a direct link between the individual’s intoxication and the accident that caused the injury.
The Role of Personal Injury Lawyers
Personal injury lawyers are essential in upholding Connecticut’s DRAM shop laws. These include:
Expert Legal Guidance
Personal injury lawyers specialize in representing individuals who’ve sustained injuries due to the negligence or actions of others. Their primary role is to provide expert legal advice, helping clients navigate the complex legal terrain surrounding personal injury claims.
Assessing Claims and Damages
One of the first tasks a personal injury lawyer undertakes is evaluating the validity of a claim. They assess the evidence, medical reports, and circumstances to determine the potential for compensation. This includes quantifying physical, emotional, and financial damages that have resulted from the injury.
Negotiation and Representation
Personal injury claims can often be resolved outside of court through negotiations with the responsible party or their insurance company. Personal injury lawyers use their expertise to advocate for their clients, ensuring they receive the maximum possible settlement. If negotiations don’t result in a satisfactory outcome, these lawyers are prepared to represent their clients in court.
Ensuring Fair Compensation
Beyond the evident physical injuries, victims might face emotional trauma, lost wages, and ongoing medical expenses. A personal injury lawyer ensures that all these factors are considered when determining the rightful compensation, advocating for a holistic approach to settlements.
Navigating Complex Legal Procedures
Understanding legal procedures, jargon, and paperwork is challenging for many people. Personal injury lawyers guide their clients through each step, ensuring all legal protocols are followed and deadlines are met, increasing the likelihood of a successful claim.
Our Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys Can Help You File a Personal Injury Claim
Connecticut’s DRAM Shop Law offers an added layer of protection to victims of drunk driving accidents. It is a powerful reminder to establishments to act responsibly and can be instrumental in a personal injury claim. If you find yourself impacted by such an unfortunate event, always consult with a injury lawyer well-versed in the state’s laws to maximize your chances of justice.