Georgia Dram Shop Law: When a Bar or Restaurant May Be at Fault
With the holidays just passed and Super Bowl Sunday coming up, it is a good time to consider that there are times when a particular patron may have caused an accident, but he/she was only part of the cause. Certainly the law presumes you are responsible for your own actions. However, what if there was another responsible party? What responsible adult would not counsel a visibly intoxicated person to walk home or take a taxi? Practically every state has a law to deal with such situations.
The law allows those struck by an intoxicated driver to sometimes go after the person or business that served them. Georgia’s Dram Shop Act allows the injured parties in such situations to seek damages from a bar, restaurant, or liquor store that knowingly sells alcohol to someone under the age of 21 or who is visibly intoxicated and knows that the person will soon be driving a motor vehicle.
You Need an Experienced Lawyer to Evaluate Dram Shop Claims and Stand Up to Insurance Companies
All establishments that sell or provide alcohol should meet the minimum requirements for insurance. However, the insurance company will likely try to defend against claims on the grounds that the person was not obviously intoxicated. In this situation, witnesses at the bar (or whatever the establishment was) would be able to tell if the alleged drunk driver had any of the normal indicia of having too much to drink:
- Red, bloodshot eyes
- Slurred speech
- Staggering gait
- Smell of alcohol
- Boisterous or loud demeanor
Police reports of the social exhibitions of the alleged drunk driver would also give a good determination of how visibly intoxicated they were in many cases. It’s important to understand that the mere fact that there was an accident with an allegedly drunk driver is not enough for the law to impose liability on the bar where they were drinking. Instead, it takes an experienced, aggressive lawyer to stand up to the insurance companies and fully develop all of the facts. Then, with a full set of fact, they can determine what specific cause(s) of action is appropriate. Georgia law allows you to recover for damages, such as medical bills, costs to repair property, lost wages and benefits and even pain and suffering. You must file suit within two years of the accident to recover under the Georgia Dram Shop Act.
OUR ATLANTA AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS ARE READY TO REVIEW YOUR CASE
Whether you live in Atlanta, Marietta, Lawrenceville and Clayton Counties, you can have an experienced Atlanta automobile accident attorney review your case. It is free and you have nothing to lose. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call Boling Rice LLC or contact us through our online contact form.