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Third Party Liability In Drunk Driving Accident Claims

By: Fred Moore | Nov 14, 2018

At Moore Law Firm, our auto accident attorneys have seen the devastating impact injuries sustained in a crash with a drunk driver can have on victims and their families. Although state laws are designed to hold intoxicated drivers accountable, like many other states, Alabama also has dram shop laws, which allow injured parties to seek compensation from a third party such as a business or individual who provided alcohol to someone who was clearly intoxicated.

Recovering Damages From A Third Party

Most auto accident cases involve two parties — the injured person and the negligent party who caused injury to that person. However, if a bar, nightclub or restaurant provided alcohol or drugs to a person who was visibly intoxicated, they may be liable for any harm that was caused under a concept known as vendor liability. Individuals who provide alcohol or drugs at a private party or event may be subject to social host liability. If you’ve been hurt in a drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to recover compensatory and punitive damages from a third party, but proving fault in a dram shop case is often challenging.

The law doesn’t apply to every situation where someone serves alcohol to a driver who ends up injuring someone. Typically, dram shop laws do not permit an intoxicated person who is injured to seek compensation from the vendor or host who provided the alcohol or drugs. To recover damages, the victim must prove that the driver was served alcohol despite the fact that they exhibited signs of intoxication. An experienced auto accident attorney will understand how to properly investigate the facts of your case and create an effective litigation strategy to demonstrate fault in a DUI dram shop case.

Types Of Damages

Under Alabama law, you are entitled to seek actual and exemplary damages in a dram shop claim. Actual damages compensate injured victims for measurable losses such as medical expenses, lost income and damaged property.

Also known as punitive damages, exemplary damages are not designed to compensate an injured party for their injuries and losses. The purpose of exemplary damages is to punish the defendant for their carelessness or egregious actions and deter others from committing the same type of act.

Statute Of Limitations In Personal Injury Cases

Alabama sets a deadline of two years from the date of the accident for filing a personal injury claim. If you fail to take action within this designated time frame, the court most likely will not consider your claim. Seeking counsel from a personal injury attorney right away is vital to ensure that a drunk driver is held accountable for your damages. Your attorney will also determine whether a dram shop or social host liability claim is worth pursuing.

Contact An Auto Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, our personal injury attorneys at Moore Law Firm can help. Our skilled and compassionate legal team is committed to fighting for your rights and helping you recover the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call 251-445-7602 to schedule a consultation.