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Bar Overserving Alcohol Car Accidents

When a bar serves someone too much alcohol and that person then creates an accident, this is called a dram shop case. In many cases, especially during the holidays, a person is served with too much alcohol and they are not properly observed by the bartender or waiter and then that person gets behind the wheel or their car or truck and injures someone in a car accident. There are also cases where a minor may be the one who is served too much alcohol and the minor then goes out and causes an accident.

The question then becomes: can a bar, restaurant, or home owner be held liable for serving someone too much booze and alcohol if the person then drives and creates a car accident? The answer is possibly yes. Often times during the holidays people have large parties at their homes and private catering companies come in to cater the home with food, booze, and alcohol. The person at the party consumes too much alcohol and then goes out and creates an accident when they drive away when they should have called an Uber, Lyft, or taxi. That person could sue the private company who catered the party.

Not only bars and restaurants can be held liable, but so can the kinds of bars where there are outdoor beer gardens, liquor stores, and private catering companies and restaurants who cater to a private home or residence, especially during parties.

Dram Shop Washington State Laws

A law in Washington State makes it illegal to sell someone liquor if they are under the influence of alcohol and allow that person to drive. RCW 66.44.200 states

(1) No person shall sell any liquor to any person apparently under the influence of liquor.

(2)(a) No person who is apparently under the influence of liquor may purchase or consume liquor on any premises licensed by the board.

There are two other situations to be aware of when it comes to a dram shop case, or a case where a bar serves someone too much booze or alcohol. The first situation to be aware of is when a minor, which is legally a person who is under the age of 18, is served alcohol and the minor then creates an accident. In that scenario, the adult can be held liable.

If one adult serves another adult too much alcohol, however, and the adult then, once drunk on too much booze, creates a car accident, the adult who served the alcohol cannot be held liable. The key difference, as you can see, lies in the age of the person who creates the accident. If the person who creates the accident is a minor, then the adult who serves the alcohol can be held liable, and thus their homeowner’s insurance policy can be reached.

However, if the person who receives the alcohol is over the age of 18, then if that person creates a car accident, the victim cannot sue the homeowner who served the alcohol. It is very important to understand these differences before pursuing a claim with a restaurant, bar, liquor store, or homeowner.

Bar Overserving Common Car Accident Injuries

If you have been in a car accident because the bar or restaurant overserved someone, then you are likely suffering serious injuries. Those injuries may include:

  • Whiplash
  • Herniated discs and bulging discs
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Headaches or concussions

If you have suffered from any of these common injuries after being in a crash involving a bar who overserved someone, you should reach out to The Jackman Law Firm to see if we can help you.

How The Jackman Law Firm can Help

If you have been in a car accident because a bar or restaurant served someone too much alcohol and they then created a car accident, you may have a claim against the driver of the car and the bar or restaurant who serve the alcohol. In order to win a case like this, you have to prove that the bar, restaurant, or home owner had a duty, the duty was breached, and you suffered an injury that is directly related to this breach.

In a case involving a bar or restaurant who has overserved someone too much alcohol, you will have to prove how the bar knew, or should have known that someone was being served too much alcohol would cause an accident and injury to someone. This may not be easy to do. You may need an attorney to help you prove this. If you do, The Jackman Law Firm is here to help you. The consultation is free.

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