If you have been injured in a vehicle collision with a drunk driver, you can pursue the driver in civil court for your damages related to the accident. However, in some situations, the driver isn’t the only party you can hold responsible. If an establishment knowingly overserved the driver with alcohol prior to the accident, you may also have a claim against that establishment, too. This claim may be brought thanks to what’s known as Georgia’s dram shop liability laws.
What Is a Dram Shop Law?
Georgia is one of 30 states nationwide to adopt some form of dram shop liability. While dram shop lawsuits are somewhat uncommon, Georgia juries have previously rendered significant verdicts against establishments that overserved drivers.
If a proprietor of a bar or one of their employees knowingly serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, they may face liability if the intoxicated person goes on to injure someone in an alcohol-related accident.
In addition to visibly intoxicated patrons, dram shop laws also apply to anyone who serves a person less than 21 years of age. It makes no difference if the minor used a convincing fake ID to obtain alcohol; it is up to the establishment to determine when an ID is valid.
However, there are some exceptions to the rule. If the drunk driver consumes their own alcohol at the establishment, there is no liability on behalf of the owner or any employees. This is especially true in cases where an establishment does not sell alcohol at all. Additionally, there is an exception if the proprietor or employee has reason to believe the driver would not be driving later. Examples include if the driver had walked to the bar or had a cab waiting. Dram shop laws don’t apply in these situations.
It is up to business owners and employees to act with care when serving alcoholic beverages. The Georgia Department of Revenue is empowered to regulate alcohol license infractions, one of which has restrictions on overserving alcohol to patrons. But an investigative report has shown that they make little effort in actively policing bars and restaurants in an effort to curb overserving. While other states actively investigate bars to determine if they avoid overserving, the Georgia Department of Revenue has a reputation for not being as vigilant.
Discuss Georgia Dram Shop Laws With Our Georgia Dram Shop Lawyers
If you or a loved one have been injured in a Georgia traffic collision by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to seek monetary compensation from the responsible party. That compensation may include your medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage bills, lost wages, and punitive damages. And if the drunk driver that struck you was over-served by a Georgia bar or night club, you may be able to seek recovery from the establishment as well as the driver.
Attorney Joel Williams has a proven track record of recovering significant damages on behalf of his clients. Our experienced Georgia personal injury attorney, Joel carefully investigates every case to identify any legal issues and to provide his clients with an understanding of what to expect with an injury lawsuit. Contact Joel Williams Law, LLC today at 833-LEGALGA today for a free consultation.