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Dram shop laws and drunk driving accidents

When a person is injured or killed in an auto accident, it is important to identify who is responsible for the accident in order to pursue fair compensation. While there are many different contributing factors in any accident, if there is alcohol involved determining who is responsible can be an even more complex venture.

Holding Alcohol Servers Responsible For Injuries and Deaths

According to a survey published in 2012 by Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2% of adults admitted to having driven after they had been drinking too much in just the last 30 days. Between 2003-2012, 1039 people were killed in Connecticut due to a drunk driver. While Connecticut law holds the driver responsible for their actions, it is also one of 38 states that also considers the establishment where the person has done their drinking by enforcing dram shop laws.

Dram shops are basically any establishment that serves alcoholic beverages, such as a bar, saloon, tavern, pub or even a restaurant. The broad term is based on a apothecary term for a dram- a liquid unit of measure equal to about 1/8th of an ounce. In Connecticut dram shops can assume up to $250,000 of financial responsibility for the injuries or wrongful death of a person who has been sustained these injuries from someone who had been drinking in their establishment if it can be shown that they continued to serve a person alcohol after they had become intoxicated. In order for someone to file a lawsuit against the serving establishment, the injured party or family member in required to inform the seller of their intention within 60 days of the incident.

The Driver's Responsibility

Of course the person who actually caused the accident holds a share of the blame when there has been an injury or death. Because of the driver's negligence either the injured party or their estate is allowed to pursue economic damages that cover various financial expenses incurred in the aftermath of the accident more medical care, loss of wages, and any additional costs. They may also be charged for physical pain and suffering or for the person's diminished ability to enjoy life. In wrongful death cases, surviving spouses may also be eligible to file a consortium case based on the loss of affection and companionship of their loss both for the current moment and the future. Potential settlements can climb higher when it can be shown that they intentionally broke drunk driving laws or operated their vehicle recklessly and that that violation played a strong role in the injury, death or property damage sustained.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a DUI related accident, getting your life back to some version of normal can be a challenge. Although there is no foolproof way to place a dollar value on this task, filing a personal injury or wrongful death case can be a step in the right direction towards holding the driver and the serving establishment accountable for their actions while getting some restitution for yourself. A qualified personal injury attorney can discuss your situation and help you decide how best to proceed with your case.

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