Most people are aware that when a drunk driver causes an Indiana car accident, that driver can be held responsible for any injuries that occur as a result of the accident through an Indiana personal injury lawsuit. What may come as a surprise to some readers is that, under Indiana’s Dram Shop law, if the drunk driver was served by a bar or restaurant to the point of intoxication, that establishment may also be named as a defendant in the drunk driving lawsuit.
Dram Shop laws are present in some form in most states. Essentially, Dram Shop laws allow for victims of a drunk driving accident to hold an establishment that over-served a drunk driver financially responsible for their injuries. In Indiana, an establishment may be liable if the person who served the driver had actual knowledge that the driver was intoxicated. It also must be shown that the driver’s intoxication was the proximate cause of the accident victim’s injuries. When it comes to proving actual knowledge that a driver was intoxicated, courts will look at all of the surrounding circumstances, such as the number of drinks the driver was served, the manner in which the driver was acting, and any eyewitness accounts of the interactions between the driver and employees of the establishment. A recent case out of Florida illustrates how one court applied the state’s Dram Shop law.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was the surviving loved one of a man who was killed in a drunk driving accident involving another driver. The at-fault driver had just come from the defendant golf course, where he played a round of golf while enjoying several alcoholic drinks. The plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the golf course.
At trial, it was shown that the allegedly drunk driver had played between 70 and 80 rounds of golf at the course over the last three years. Witnesses testified that each time, the driver would consume between four and six strong alcoholic drinks before driving home. On the day of the accident, employees of the golf course served the man at least four drinks.
Under Florida law, plaintiffs must prove that the establishment served the patron while knowing that he was addicted to alcohol (a more difficult standard than Indiana law requires). The court considered all of the evidence and found that a jury may determine the employees of the golf course served the driver with knowledge of his alcohol addiction. Thus, the case was permitted to proceed toward trial or settlement negotiations.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Drunk Driving Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of an Indiana drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, there may be more than one responsible party, which can increase your chances of being compensated for the full extent of your injuries. To learn more about Indiana drunk driving accident lawsuits, and to schedule a consultation with an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney, call 888-532-7766 today.
Case Claiming Toxic Exposure to MDI Dismissed for Failure to Retain Expert on Causation, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, July 6, 2017
Court Prohibits Playground Injury Lawsuit Against School, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, June 26, 2017