You are on your way home from work only to be T-boned by a drunk driver. You have incredible losses, and your life is changed forever. You learn that the person just left a bar where they were being served alcohol for hours.
Is that bar responsible for your losses, too? Does Georgia have a Dram Shop Act to help you secure compensation? The simple answer to this is yes, a third party could be held liable for your injuries if they provide the alcohol to the person causing the accident.
At Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer, we work hard to ensure our clients hold everyone accountable who is responsible for their losses. During our initial, free case review, we are happy to provide you with more insight into the legal rights you have to go after those who served alcohol to the defendant. Call us now for a free consultation with an Atlanta drunk driving accident lawyer. Let our free phone consultation work to answer all of your questions.
What Is Georgia’s Dram Shop Act?
Georgia Code §51-1-40 creates the right for victims to pursue compensation from the seller of alcohol in some situations. To be liable under the state’s Dram Shop Act, the following must occur. The location may be liable if:
- They willfully, knowingly, and unlawfully served alcohol to any party under the age of 21 OR
- They knowingly served alcohol to a person that has noticeable intoxication signs
In addition to either of these factors, the establishment must also know that the person will be driving a vehicle after leaving the location.
How Does This Work?
Consider a person who is at a local bar for several hours and is served alcohol by the same bartender. During that time, the person begins to slur their speech and stumbles around. The bartender should be able to notice this as they are interacting with that person. They also recognize that the person has car keys and may be driving themselves home.
Yet, they continue to serve that person alcohol for another hour, worsening their symptoms as they do. In this situation, the person being served alcohol is likely intoxicated and, therefore, unable to safely operate a vehicle. In this situation, the victim can hold the bar responsible for some of their losses because they continued to serve the defendant alcohol, knowing that there was a risk that this could happen.
There are many limitations to this. It is not uncommon for it to be difficult for victims to prove that this type of responsibility is present. Yet, our car accident attorneys will work to determine if it is likely that the bar is responsible.
Georgia Social Host Liability
Not all drunk drivers come from bars, though. In some situations, a person is at a friend’s home when they become intoxicated and puts others at risk when they drive home. The Georgia Dram Shop Act applies in this situation as well. If the host of the event knowingly served alcohol to someone who had noticeable signs of intoxication – or they should have noticed those signs – that person may be held responsible for the accident as well.
More so, if a minor under the age of 21 is served alcohol at a friend’s home and that minor then causes an accident, the host of the party may be held responsible in that situation as well.
The same rules apply, though. The social host must knowingly serve alcohol to the individual after they have shown signs of intoxication, or they must have served alcohol to a person under the age of 21, and they must know that the person is likely to get in a car and drive it home.
How Can You Pursue Losses Under the Dram Shop Act in Georgia?
In situations where your losses are severe, it is easy to see why you may wish to pursue compensation from all parties responsible. We encourage you to make our attorneys your first step in the process of getting compensation. Let us help you determine if the Dram Shop Act applies, and if it does, let us help determine what rights you may have.
You may be able to obtain compensation for all losses this person or business caused to you. Common types of damages you may be able to recover in a case like this may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost time at work
- Damaged property
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
They can be held responsible for both economic and non-economic losses. That means you can pursue compensation for all ways that this incident has impacted your life.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Georgia for Dram Shop Act Claims?
Like all personal injury cases, you must file your claim during the allowable period of time after the incident. This is two years from the date of the accident. There are some variances to this, which our attorneys can help you determine.
The process of proving this type of case can be challenging. We encourage you not to wait any amount of time. Let our accident attorneys go to work for you immediately.
We will pursue all evidence available to prove your case, including photos and videos of the incident, the bar, and even the parking lot of the establishment. We can use social media posts, witness statements, and many other components of evidence to prove your losses. The sooner you act to get our team to work, the better.
Turn to Our Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation
There are limitations to these laws and the rights you have. That is why we encourage you to take action immediately if you believe anyone else could be responsible for the losses you have incurred. Let us help you better understand the Georgia Dram Shop Act and what it means to your case.
Schedule a free consultation with an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer. Talk to our team now about what occurred and why you believe you are owed compensation. Call our office today for the legal support and guidance you need from a proven team of car accident attorneys in Georgia.