Tragically, each year thousands of individuals are killed or catastrophically injured by drunk drivers. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration has reported that there is a fatal alcohol-related car accident nearly every hour. This high number of fatal accidents is not surprising when considering the staggering number of drunk drivers on the road.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) “an average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before his first arrest” and “50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license.” For drivers safely using the road, these statistics can be downright scary. Additionally, if you or a loved one is involved in a collision with a drunk driver, you may be wondering what can you do.
If you were injured, or a family member was killed by a drunk driver, you have a right to legal representation. Take advantage of it.
The Wieand Law Firm has significant experience representing the victims of drunk driving accidents and their families. Our firm is well-versed in the intricacies of Pennsylvania dram shop law and knows what it takes to successfully prove your case against a drunk driver in court. If you or a family member was seriously injured by a drunk driver, call attorney Wieand for a free legal consultation at (215) 666-7777.
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There are several legal options for drunk driving accident victims in terms of seeking redress. First, the drunk driver may be held liable for compensatory damages, or actual damages, caused to the victim. A drunk driver may also be subject to punitive damages above actual losses which are meant to punish reckless, wanton or intentionally harmful acts.
A drunk driver is not the only party potentially liable for injuries that you sustained in a car wreck. A Dram Shop case can sometimes be pursued in addition to the lawsuit against the drunk driver. Under Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop laws, an establishment that serves a visibly intoxicated person, who later gets behind the wheel and causes an accident can be held accountable for the damages caused by the drunk driver.
In Pennsylvania, Dram Shop laws apply not only to businesses that serve alcohol, such as bars, restaurants, and casinos, but also private events. An establishment may also be held liable if the bartender or server has violated other liquor laws, such as serving alcohol after hours, serving alcohol to a minor, or selling alcohol without a license.
People may be surprised to learn that a dram shop lawsuit doesn’t have to be an auto accident. When a business serves a visibly intoxicated person who then starts a fight or seriously injures another patron, that establishment may be held liable for the damages caused under the dram shop law.
Attorney Brent Wieand of the Wieand Law Firm has successfully represented clients in dram shop cases involving assault and battery cases against bars, casinos and concert venues. To discuss a dram shop related injury call (215) 666-7777.
In Fandozzi v. Kelly Hotel, 1998 Pa. Super. 711 A.2d 524, 525-26 (1998) appeal denied, 558 Pa. 601, 735 A2d 1269 (1999), the Court held that a plaintiff must prove two things in order to establish liability against a liquor licensee.
It is not sufficient for a plaintiff to establish merely that alcoholic beverages were served to a patron or that the patron was intoxicated at the time he or she caused injury to another. In addition, for an establishment to be held civilly liable evidence must be produced indicating the patron was served alcohol at a time when he or she was visibly intoxicated. Id. at 527.
Visible intoxication is the crux of most dram shop cases. However, proving that a bar patron was served while “visibly intoxicated” can be complicated. In civil cases, the person filing the lawsuit has the burden of proof. In dram shop cases, this means presenting evidence to prove the person who caused your injuries was exhibiting signs of drunkenness like glassy and bloodshot eyes, loud, obnoxious or aggressive behavior, slurred speech, staggering or falling down. This can be done through video surveillance footage, the testimony of eyewitnesses who were at the bar, or possibly through an expert toxicologist. Expert witnesses can also be used to testify about blood alcohol content and how an average person would have been behaving.
To speak with experienced Philadelphia dram shop lawyer, call the Wieand law Firm at (215) 666-7777 or fill out a description of your claim in the online contact form.
*Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice. If you have questions about dram shop case you should always consult with a dram shop attorney.
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