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Who can be held liable in a drunk driving accident?

Whether it's after work with friends or colleagues, a celebration or work function, Arizona residents often partake in consuming a few alcoholic beverages. While this is perfectly safe and legal for those of age consuming a safe amount, when it comes to motorists drinking alcohol, there is a concern of drinking and driving. Because it can be difficult to discern how much is too much, some drivers believe that they are still fine to operate a motor vehicle. Such a situation causes some impaired individuals to still get behind the wheel instead of finding another route home. This could result in a serious and even fatal accident.

Who can be held liable in a drunk driving accident? When an individual is injured in a DUI accident, it is possible to hold more than just a motorist liable in the collision. While evidence collected during accident investigation could help determine the blood alcohol content of the driver, it could also determine where a motorist became intoxicated.

If a driver was consuming alcohol at an establishment such as a bar or restaurant, it is possible for an injured victim or family members of the deceased to hold them liable through dram shop laws. These laws allow for victims of a drunk driving accident or their families to sue alcohol vendors or retailers for monetary damages following a drunk driving accident.

But it can be difficult to prove fault in dram shop cases. For example, a victim or their loved ones must be able to prove four elements. First, there must be a proof of sale of alcohol to the patron. Next, injuries must have been suffered by another party because of the patron. Third, there must be proximate cause between the sale of alcohol and the intoxication of the patron. Finally, intoxication must have been at least one cause of the damages suffered by the victim.

While it can be difficult to prove at times, victims of a drunk driving accident should understand that they could hold more than just a negligent driver liable. A experienced legal professional could help victims explore ways to recover compensations for their losses and damages.

Source:, "Dram Shop Laws," accessed Jan. 7, 2017

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Law Office of Keith A. Hammond, P.C.

Keith A. Hammond, P.C. Attorney at Law
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