A far-reaching social crisis, drunk driving is particularly heartbreaking because the injuries and fatalities that result are entirely preventable. Nevertheless, many negligent or careless individuals choose to drink and drive. Statistics estimate that 28 people die everyday in the U.S. as a result of drunk driving and that, on average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
Although the primary responsibility for any accident lies with the drunk driver for making such a reckless choice, some states have enacted laws that also place liability on the establishments that sell and serve alcohol. Known as “dram shop laws,” they currently cover all licensed distributors of retail alcoholic drinks in 42 states, including Kentucky. The phrase “dram shop” comes from the way alcohol was sold in England during the 18th century. Businesses would sell gin by the spoonful – and this measurement was called a dram. The term came back into use in the legal community in the 1980s when the issue of drunk driving reared its ugly head.
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident or lost someone you love in one, Kentucky’s dram shop law may apply. You owe it to yourself to know your rights. The Pikeville dram shop lawyers at the Johnson Law Firm have represented clients in DWI accident claims since 1998. Attorney Billy Johnson understands the intricacies of KY’s auto accident laws, and knows the high price that victims and their families pay when a serious personal injury occurs. Of course, financial compensation cannot bring back a lost loved one or restore a person’s ability to earn a living, but it can ease some worries and allow victims to focus on recovering. Put his experience to work for you by calling the Johnson Law Firm at 606-433-0682 or by filling out our consultation form for a free assessment of your case.
Dram shop laws generally address over-serving of alcohol by commercial enterprises such as bars and restaurants to inebriated patrons who cause injury. This is different from ordinary people who are sued under social host liability laws for serving alcohol at private parties. Remember, every state has its own specific personal injury laws and language and dram shop law is no different.
In Kentucky, there are strict conditions that must be met for an alcohol supplier to be found liable:
- Alcohol must have been sold and served to an intoxicated person.
- The person who sold and/or served the alcohol did so knowing the drinker was already intoxicated. Legally sufficient signs of intoxication are unsteady walking, unsteady movement, slurred speech, incoherent speech, and an excessive amount of alcohol consumed in a short period of time.
- The drinker’s intoxication was a proximate (foreseeable) cause of the victim’s injury that resulted.
What does this mean for the victim of a drunk driver? It means that the individual (as well as his or her family) may be entitled to recover damages from the bar, restaurant or store that sold the alcohol. It also means, however, that the victim must both establish proximate cause and prove that the sale of alcohol was inappropriate.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a drunk driving accident, it is critical to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney as soon after the accident as possible. The Eastern KY drunk driving accident attorneys at the Johnson Law Firm are here to help. From his Pikeville office, attorney Billy Johnson has made it his life’s work to assist people throughout Kentucky and believes that those who cause harm to others should be held accountable for their actions. This includes paying compensation to accident victims for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal accident, wrongful death. A proven advocate, Billy is a proud member of the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums. Put his experience to work for you by calling the Johnson Law Firm at 606-433-0682 or by filling out our consultation form for a free assessment of your case.