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Is the Dram Shop Act useful in drunk driving accident cases?


Being involved in a drunk driving accident is an untenable situation. Victims in drunk driving accidents often times bear the brunt of the accident and can suffer severe injuries. At times, a drunk driving accident can result in death. The families of the victims are usually the ones that have to deal with the aftermath of the accident because the actual victim is too incapacitated to do so. The legal steps taken after an accident of this type can be complex and confusing because a criminal suit as well as a civil suit can arise out of a drunk driving accident.

Accidents caused by drunk driver are punishable under the law depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident. As mentioned previously, the state can press criminal charges against a drunk driver from reckless endangerment to manslaughter if a death results. Along with possible criminal charges, the victim or the family of the victim can decided to go forward with a civil lawsuit where appropriate. The main question that arises in a civil case where a drunk driver is involved is who to sue? Now, on the face of it, the drunk driver is public enemy number one and probably in most cases will catch the brunt of a lawsuit. However, other entities at play in an accident caused by a drunk driver may be fair game legally.

In some drunk driving cases it may be appropriate and necessary to sue the vendor or retailor that provided the alcohol. For instance, the Dram Shop Act allows for the victim or the family of the victim to sue the bar that sold the alcohol to the person that eventually drove drunk and caused an accident. These cases are very difficult to prove but if successful the victim will be awarded monetary damages.

Hence, the accident victims in a drunk driving case do have the ability to be made whole legally.

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