Drunk Driving and Dram Shop Liability
Across the country, each day, about 28 people die due to a drunk driving accident. These fatal or catastrophic accidents are devastating to victims and their families. Although there has been a concerted effort to reduce drunk driving, many people continue to drink and drive in Tennessee and elsewhere. Unfortunately, some of these drunk drivers are uninsured or commit hit and runs. However, you may still be able to recover compensation. If you were injured or a loved one was killed by a drunk driver, Knoxville car accident attorney Mark C. Hartsoe may be able to counsel you on potential dram shop liability issues.Drunk Driving and Dram Shop Liability
You may sue a drunk driver directly for damages if you suffered injuries or your loved one was killed by the driver’s intoxication. In cases in which insurance is available, the insurer may offer you a settlement, or in more complicated cases, it may decide to go to trial. The civil case will be separate from any criminal case. But what if the coverage is insufficient to compensate you for your injuries or the death of a loved one?
You may also be able to sue a business or third party that supplied the drunk driver with alcohol under Tennessee's dram shop law, which is Tennessee Code 57-10-102. This law allows you to recover damages from a business that sold the driver alcohol if the business sold the alcohol to the drunk driver, whoever bought the alcohol was less than 21 years old or was visibly drunk, and the sale directly caused your injuries. For example, if a 17-year-old was drinking beer at a restaurant and became increasingly drunk, slurring his speech and stumbling around, but the server continued to bring him the drinks that he requested, and he later T-boned your car, you might be able to hold the restaurant liable.
Damages to which you may be entitled if you are successful include medical costs, lost wages, household services, property damage, and pain and suffering. Additional damages may be available in a wrongful death lawsuit. You will need to file your lawsuit within one year of the accident.
This law does not apply to social occasions but only to instances in which the alcohol is actually sold. Accordingly, you may not sue the host of a party who serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated guest, but you may still sue the guest if the guest injures you.Protect Your Rights by Enlisting a Car Accident Attorney in Knoxville
If you have been struck by a drunk driver, you may be able to recover compensation. At the Hartsoe Law Firm, Knoxville car accident lawyer Mark C. Hartsoe can advise you on dram shop liability and represent you in a lawsuit for damages. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm at (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form to set up a free appointment with a drunk driving accident lawyer. We assist injured parties and their families throughout East Tennessee, including in Knox, Blount, Monroe, Loudon, Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, Campbell, Hamblen, Greene, Anderson, Cumberland, and Fentress Counties.