If you are the victim of a drunk driving accident, you likely know you can hold the driver responsible. However, did you know that you can hold others responsible, such as establishments that the driver purchased alcohol from? These establishments are usually known as dram shops. Discover the liability of dram shops in drunk driving accidents with this FAQ.
What Qualifies as a Dram Shop?
As mentioned, a dram shop is any establishment that an individual purchases alcohol from. Dram shops can be bars, restaurants, or clubs. The establishment usually holds a license to sell liquor from the ADLLC, or Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control.
In contrast, a person who holds a party and serves alcohol is called a social host. The person and the event they hold are not held under the same laws as dram shops. Social hosts and events are not usually liable for a drunk person’s actions, unless that person is a minor.
When Are Dram Shops Held Liable in Arizona?
Arizona laws allow for dram shop liability in several instances. Discover the circumstances where dram shops might be held liable.
A Person Is Visibly Intoxicated
If people can easily see that a person is drunk, such as if that person has trouble with their balance, stumbles around, or has slurred speech, then this usually qualifies as visible intoxication. If a dram shop employee could see that and still sells the person alcohol anyway, then the dram shop is often held responsible for any accidents, injuries, or damages the intoxicated person caused.
A Dram Shop Doesn’t Monitor Well Enough
As employees of an establishment that sells alcohol, dram shop workers likely know that they should be on the lookout for someone who is visibly intoxicated with impaired functions. If they fail to monitor close enough, a victim of a drunk driver could potentially prove that the dram shop was negligent in its duties.
A Dram Shop Served a Minor
If a dram shop serves a person under 21 who later gets into a drunk driving accident, then the dram shop can often be responsible for damages. Liability due to a driver’s age is often provable by the fact that the dram shop knew the person was under the proper drinking age or if the dram shop employee who served alcohol did not ask for ID.
When Are Dram Shops Not Held Liable in Arizona?
Sometimes, under Arizona law, dram shops are not responsible for a drunk driver’s actions. For example, if the injured person was with or close by the drunk person and knew that that person was intoxicated, the dram shop is not usually liable.
Why Are Dram Shops Held Responsible?
Dram shop employees are not physically present in the vehicle that caused the accident. However, they do usually hold a responsibility to ensure that drunk driving accidents do not happen. Additionally, dram shop liability ensures that a victim of a drunk driving accident can receive suitable compensation for damages, as a drunk driver might have limited financial resources.
What Damages Can a Drunk Driving Victim Seek From the Dram Shop?
The extent and severity of a victim’s injuries or property damage from the accident determines the damages a victim can pursue.
Many victims might seek compensation for medical costs, such as for hospital stays, surgeries, therapy, or doctors’ appointments. Others might want compensation for lost wages or loss of earning capacity, especially if the victim is permanently disabled. Other damages might be compensation for property damage, as well as for pain and suffering the victim has suffered.
Does Arizona Impose Monetary Limitations on Liability?
No, Arizona allows drunk driving victims to seek as much monetary compensation as is necessary for their complete recovery and living needs. An experienced and knowledgeable drunk driving attorney can determine the right amount of compensation to sue for.
How Can a Drunk Driving Victim Seek Compensation From a Dram Shop?
A victim of a drunk driving accident should first speak to an experienced lawyer. The lawyer can help determine if the victim can hold a dram shop liable. This usually is done by seeking evidence that the drunk driver’s actions directly resulted from buying and consuming alcohol at the dram shop. If the lawyer can prove this, then they can help the victim hold the dram shop liable for compensation.
What Arizona Law Firm Should a Drunk Driving Victim Speak To?
Garrison Law Firm is here for you if you have been injured in a drunk driving accident. We can help prove whether a dram shop is just as liable as the drunk driver and help you seek the compensation you deserve. Please reach out to us for a free legal consultation to go over your case and discuss what to do next. We are happy to answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you understand your rights.