According to estimates from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than 10,000 people are killed every year in drunk driving accidents, with nearly 300,000 more being injured. Of course, in any such crash, the individual who chose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated bears the bulk of the responsibility for the deaths and injuries caused. However, the law in Connecticut provides that there may be other liable parties, including the owner of a bar or other establishment that may have overserved the drunk driver prior to he or she getting on the road.
Social Host Liability
Throughout the state of Connecticut, it is against the law for any establishment to sell or otherwise provide alcohol to an intoxicated person. In most cases, an offending bar owner is subject to a $1000 fine per occurrence. If, however, a bar serves an intoxicated person and that person subsequently injures another or causes other damages, the seller may be held liable for the injuries or damages, up to $250,000. The law, known as the Dram Shop Act, requires an injured party to show that the bar or its employees acted recklessly and/or intentionally continued to serve the intoxicated person, as action on the basis of negligence alone is not permitted if the intoxicated person is of legal drinking age.
Recent Verdict Awarded
In many situations, damages under the Dram Shop Act are often sought in conjunction with those being pursued under other liability laws, as well. One such case recently resulted in a $1.3 million verdict for a couple injured by a woman driving home after drinking on the job at a bar in Niantic, Connecticut. The woman admitted to consuming a number of alcoholic beverages during her shift, after which she attempted to drive home. According to court reports, the woman ran into the back of the couple’s vehicle, pushing it off the road, injuring both the husband and wife. Following the accident, police indicated the woman’s blood-alcohol content was 0.21, more than two and half times the legal limit.
While the woman was charged with and convicted of driving while intoxicated and second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, the couple sought compensation in civil court as well. They brought suit for negligent supervision by the bar management, as well as a dram shop claim for serving an intoxicated person. The jury found the bar and its liquor permit-owner to be 40 percent responsible for the couple’s injuries, leaving them liable for the same percentage of the total verdict.
Legal Help for Dram Shop Liability Cases
If you have been injured in any way by the actions of an intoxicated person, contact an experienced Hartford personal injury attorney. Our team will help you identify all potentially liable parties, including bar owners and staff, and will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. Call the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, at [[phone1]] to schedule your free, confidential consultation today.