When Can Indiana Businesses Be Held Liable for Providing Alcohol to Intoxicated Persons?

Drunk driving is still a widespread issue throughout the country, which is why many states have developed strict laws to try to address it. In Indiana, the state’s Dram Shop Act (the Act) holds providers of alcoholic beverages liable in Indiana personal injury cases where the providers knowingly serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. In those cases, the providers can be held responsible for any reasonably foreseeable consequences.

There are both criminal and civil penalties under the Act. A provider can be held liable for damages in a civil case if the provider furnishes an alcoholic beverage, and the provider has actual knowledge that the person was visibly intoxicated at the time the alcoholic beverage was provided. The person’s intoxication must also be a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. This also means that if a person is injured because of the person’s own voluntary intoxication, the person may be able to recover from the provider who furnished the person an alcoholic beverage.

Actual knowledge means that the provider knew that the person was visibly intoxicated. Of course, a provider will not always admit to knowing that, so courts will make reasonable inferences based upon the evidence presented in the case. This might include how many drinks the person consumed and during what period, and the person’s behavior at the time. Experts are often used in these cases because they can provide information about at what point a person would show signs of visible intoxication.

Furnishing alcohol in this context means to “barter, deliver, sell, exchange, provide, or give away.” The provider does not have to be a business, and individuals can also be held liable under the Act. Indiana courts have held that in those cases, there must be a transfer of possession. For example, a teenager could be held liable if the teenager buys alcohol and shares it with a friend, as long as the other elements under the statute are met.

Alcohol Suspected in Recent Fatal Indiana Crash

Two people were killed in a recent crash on Interstate 65 in northwest Indiana when a car traveled the wrong way down the highway. According to one news source, the accident occurred early on a Sunday morning. Police received reports of a vehicle driving north in the southbound lanes of the interstate around 1:30 in the morning. The car crashed with another car head-on, killing two and injuring another. Both drivers were killed and were in their early 20s. A passenger was injured but is expected to survive. Alcohol is believed to have been involved in the crash.

Contact an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in an Indiana drunk driving accident, contact the law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse LLP. The firm has successfully obtained millions of dollars on behalf of Indiana clients. Our Indiana personal injury attorneys are dedicated to aggressively representing injured victims throughout Indiana. If you or a loved one has suffered due to someone else’s wrongdoing, you may be entitled to compensation that will help you to move forward with your life. The firm works closely with experts and investigators to maximize your compensation. Call today for a free case evaluation at 888-532-7766.