Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of fatal traffic accidents in Indiana. In fact, so far this year there have been over 5,500 alcohol-related car accidents in Indiana alone. Of those, roughly 2,300 have resulted in injury, and 205 have resulted in death. These figures represent about one-third of all traffic accidents in the entire state.
With drunk driving being such a problem in Indiana, the Indiana Legislature took action and passed a Dram Shop Act. Indiana’s Dram Shop Act serves to hold an establishment financially liable when they serve a patron to the point of intoxication, and then that patron causes a car accident. Dram Shop Act cases are most commonly brought against bars but can also be brought against restaurants and even social hosts who provide alcohol to someone who was already visibly intoxicated.
A Recent Example of a Dram Shop Act Case
In Massachusetts, an appellate court recently heard an appeal from a defendant restaurant owner after it was determined by the lower court that the case could proceed to trial. In Bayless v. TTS Trio Corporation, the plaintiff was a woman who lost her father in a single-vehicle car accident after he left the defendant’s restaurant.
The woman filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the restaurant, based on the state’s Dram Shop Act. She alleged that the defendant served her father liquor up to and past the point of intoxication and then allowed her father to leave the establishment. Soon afterward, driving in an intoxicated state, the plaintiff’s father was involved in the accident that claimed his life.
The plaintiff, who was not there on the night of the accident, talked to a number of people who were present. The plaintiff filed an affidavit and included information she gathered as a result of her investigation, including the facts that her father had been at the bar for almost seven hours and was estimated to have consumed 12 drinks.
The restaurant owner challenged the sufficiency of the affidavit, based on the fact that the plaintiff had no first-hand knowledge of what happened that night, but the court promptly overruled the defendant’s motion. As a result, the plaintiff’s case will be permitted to proceed toward trial.
Have You Been Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an Indiana drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation based on all that you have been put through. Indiana, like Massachusetts, has a Dram Shop Act that serves to hold irresponsible restaurant and bar owners liable for their reckless serving habits. Thus, if you are successful, you may be able to recover compensation not just from the drunk driver but also from the establishment that served him to the point of intoxication. To learn more about this complex area of the law, call 888-765-7411 to set up a free consultation with a dedicated personal injury attorney.
Appellate Court Determines When Evidence of a Party’s Lack of Insurance is Admissible at Trial, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, May 2, 2016
Recent Appellate Court Opinion Finds in Favor of Plaintiff in Road Rage Case, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, April 1, 2016