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What is necessary to prove negligence under dram shop laws?

If you have been a victim of a car accident that resulted from the actions of an intoxicated driver, you are likely facing high medical costs and other damages. While you are entitled to pursue financial relief through the civil judicial system by filing a personal injury claim against the driver, you may be concerned about that driver's ability to compensate you for the damages you suffered.

Under certain circumstances, you may hold a third party liable for your financial losses. Under Alabama dram shop laws, the institution or person that supplied the driver with alcohol might be held responsible. If that party served an already intoxicated driver with alcohol, or if the driver was underage, a claim might be viable. You may also consider such a lawsuit if you or your minor child caused an accident while intoxicated.

However, this does not mean that the supplier of the alcohol is to blame for every accident caused by an intoxicated driver. If you want to hold a pub or social host liable for your damages, proving liability may be a challenge.

You will have to prove that:

  • The intoxicated driver bought the alcohol from the third party. That party could also be a social host who served the driver with alcohol.
  • The alcohol served or sold to the driver contributed directly to his or her level of intoxication.
  • The driver's intoxication was partly the cause of the damages sustained.
  • And most importantly, that the person served or sold the alcohol to the driver without doing the "obvious intoxication test." Serving alcohol to an obviously intoxicated driver can put his or her life in danger, along with the lives of others.

Alabama dram shop laws are based on the belief that bars and social hosts must partly bear responsibility for the consequences of the irresponsible serving of alcohol to already intoxicated or underage drivers. These laws allow injured crash victims and their families to seek recovery of damages from these entities by pursuing personal injury lawsuits.

Proving negligence by a social host or server at a bar under the dram shop laws can be a huge challenge. How would you prove that the person serving the alcohol knew what the driver's alcohol tolerance level was, or that he or she even planned to drive a vehicle after drinking? If the server knew whether the individual was drinking on an empty stomach, it might be easier to determine whether he or she has had enough to drink.

So, how would you go about proving such negligence? Fortunately, the skills of an experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate such a claim. A seasoned Alabama attorney can help you establish negligence and navigate the claim on your behalf while you recover from your crash injuries.

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Huntsville, AL 35801
Phone: 256-417-6609
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