It is clear that in a drunk driving accident, naturally, the drunk driver is responsible. While this is true, there are also certain circumstances where others are liable as well. In these instances, you can pursue compensation not just from the driver but from the other potentially at-fault parties as well.
Finding out all the parties at fault for a drunk driving accident can be confusing. Our lawyers at John Foy & Associates have years of experience handling these types of cases and can provide you with legal assistance through this challenging time. We want to help you get the best settlement possible for your damages. Call us today at (404) 471-3348 to learn more about all of your legal options.
How Can You Hold Someone Responsible for Your Accident?
When you look at an accident, you need to consider all of the details. Beyond the driver, who is clearly at-fault, what other factors may have contributed to the accident happening? Many external factors exist that could have facilitated the cause of your accident.
The primary cause of your accident will always be the drunk driver. However, there are times when you can hold the vehicle manufacturer at fault if the car had defects that contributed to the accident. In addition, you could also potentially hold the city responsible if they failed to maintain the roads properly, which also caused your accident or any damages you sustained.
Asides from vehicle manufacturers and road conditions, your state’s dram shop laws can also help you hold others accountable for the accident.
What Are Dram Shop Laws?
A dram shop is an antiquated term for a bar, but it can also refer to a grocery store, liquor store, or any place that serves alcoholic beverages. Dram shop laws exist to punish any licensed alcohol vendors that contribute to drunk driving incidents. This law sounds unfair to many. After all, the driver is responsible for what happens, not the vendor, right?
Dram shop laws are put into place mainly to hold those who had a hand in the driver’s intoxication accountable if they were negligent in their actions. Also, remember, dram shop laws affect hosts of parties and social gatherings as well. Hosts are responsible for their guests both at the party and when they leave, so they can also be liable if an accident occurs.
How Dram Shop Laws Work in Georgia
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) §51-1-40 states two ways in which a host or licensed alcohol vendor gets held liable for a drunk driving accident.
Knowingly Serving Alcohol to a Visibly Intoxicated Individual
If a person is visibly intoxicated, a bartender or host needs to cut them off from further drinks, especially if they knew that person drove to the bar or party. If the intoxicated individual gets served a drink and then gets behind the wheel, whatever happens afterward is also the fault of the person and establishment that served the alcohol to them.
Keep in mind that you can only find a bartender or host responsible if they were previously aware or had reasonable suspicion that the intoxicated individual they served would drive.
Serving Alcohol to a Minor
If a bartender or host served a drink to a minor, they would get held liable if any accident happened. Not only is it illegal to serve alcohol to minors, but it is also extremely dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of death for teens.
Alcohol use only exacerbates that fact. Many drunk driving accidents occur within a younger demographic, especially underaged teens. Any host or bartender that serves minors is not just doing a criminal act. They are directly endangering the lives of not just the minors but also others on the road and pedestrians on the street.
Obtain Legal Assistance for Your Drunk Driving Accident
Georgia’s laws make it hard to determine who exactly is at-fault for your accident. You want to hold all of the parties responsible liable for your damages. Doing so will yield you the best settlement and ensure that this behavior gets thoroughly punished so it will not happen again.
Our lawyers will help you prove the negligence of the driver and any other persons knowingly responsible for their intoxication. Through careful analysis and review, our lawyers will help guide you through the claims process.
We are not afraid to represent you in court if need be. While most claims settle out of court, there can be instances where a liable party will escalate things before a judge and jury. You can rest easy with us, knowing that we will always have your back and put your best interests forward.
Comparative Fault Laws
Comparative negligence, also known as comparative fault, refers to when you are also partially responsible for your accident. In Georgia, you must be less than 50% responsible for your accident to file a claim. In every drunk driving accident, the drunk driver is always going to be in the wrong. However, that still does not excuse you from needing to prove that you were also not at-fault for what happened.
If you are partially responsible for your accident, whatever percentage you were responsible for gets deducted from your final settlement amount. It is best to retain a lawyer to help you prove the fault of the other parties and absolve yourself of any wrongdoing.
Get Help with Your Drunk Driving Accident Case
At John Foy & Associates, we have compassion for all victims of personal injury. We want to help you get a fair settlement for your pain and damages. With over 20 years of experience and over one billion dollars recovered, we are confident that we can help you. Call us today for a free consultation at (404) 471-3348.