The number of alcohol-related car accidents has declined sharply since the 1980s when states began to pass laws against drunk driving. Drunk drivers still cause a disproportionate share of car accident injuries, though. Whose responsibility is it to prevent drunk driving? In short, it is everyone’s responsibility. Anyone who can tell that a person is drunk (including the person himself or herself) should take reasonable measures to prevent the person from driving. For example, a person who has only had one drink at a social gathering should offer friends who drank more a ride home from the bar or party.
Even though bars are in the business of serving people enough alcohol to take their minds off their problems, they should try to stop patrons from driving drunk, whether through arranging rides for them or by refusing to serve them excessive amounts of alcohol. When a person injured by a drunk driver can prove that the bartender that serves alcohol to the driver knowingly let him drive drunk, the injured person can file a vendor liability lawsuit against the bar. If you think you have grounds for a liability lawsuit, contact a Mobile car accident lawyer
What Alabama Law Says About Vendor Liability
Alabama Code section 6-5-71 states that any person injured in an accident resulting from a drunk person’s actions may bring a lawsuit against the person or company that provided the alcohol that intoxicated the drunk person on the day of the accident. A close relative of the injured person who depends on the injured person financially may also file a lawsuit against the seller of the alcohol if the victim’s injuries are serious enough that the victim can no longer work to support his or her family. They only have a case against the seller if the seller-provided alcohol “contrary to the provisions of law.” Unlike in some other states, the drunk driver himself cannot sue the bar for getting him drunk.
In practice, vendor liability lawsuits usually arise in cases where the vendor has violated one of two laws; either the vendor has sold alcohol to a person younger than 21 (failing to card patrons or accepting a fake ID), or the vendor has sold alcohol to the person after he or she was noticeably too drunk to drive.
Why File a Vendor Liability Lawsuit?
If your medical bills from a drunk driving accident are too high for you to pay, they are probably also too high for the drunk driver who hit you, too. Lawsuits for the amount of money you need to recover financially from a serious injury are more successful when the defendant is a business.
Contact the Stevenson Klotz Law Firm About Car Accident Cases
A personal injury attorney may be able to help you file a vendor liability suit against the bar where the drunk driver who hit you got drunk. Contact the Stevenson Klotz Law Firm in Mobile, Alabama to discuss your case and to see whether you have grounds for a lawsuit.
Following graduation from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Eric Stevenson held a number of positions including Assistant State Attorney in the First Judicial Circuit of Florida. Eric has been practicing with partner Christopher Klotz since 2015 litigating personal injury and car accidents in Alabama and Florida.