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If a Drunk Driver Hit Me, Could a Bar be Liable?

 Posted on April 13, 2022 in Personal Injury

Grand Rapids Car Crash LawyerDrunk drivers can be wildly unpredictable, which makes it nearly impossible for the sober drivers around them to avoid getting hit. Drunk drivers turn without signaling, signal without turning, and cannot seem to stay in their own lanes. They may jump medians, drive up an exit ramp, or blow through stoplights. This can lead to serious crashes that the sober driver could not see coming. 

While the drunk driver - or their insurance company - can certainly be held responsible for any damages they caused, in some cases, there might be another liable party. 

Michigan still has what are called dram shop laws, which can make an establishment that serves alcohol to a patron who later causes an accident liable. An attorney can help give you a better idea of whether dram shop laws may apply to your situation. 

When is a Bar or Brewery Responsible for a Drunk Driving Accident?

A bar, brewery, or other establishments that serve alcohol are not always automatically liable for a car accident caused by one of their patrons. If this were the case, it would be very difficult for any drinking establishments to exist. Bars do not assume responsibility for the actions of every customer after they leave. Rather, there are specific circumstances that must exist in order for a “dram shop” to be held responsible for a drunk driving crash. 

There are typically two reasons that a bar becomes liable for a car crash caused by its intoxicated customer. The first is if the establishment served a minor. Any business that sells or serves alcohol is responsible for ensuring that they only serve patrons who are over the age of 21. When a bar or club serves someone who is not old enough to legally drink, it can then be held responsible for the damage its underage patron causes after leaving. 

The other reason a bar could be held liable for a drunk driving crash is if it continued serving alcohol to someone who was visibly intoxicated. It is illegal in Illinois to serve more alcoholic drinks to someone who has clearly had enough already. Your lawyer must prove that the bartender, server, or other responsible staff member should have been aware of the defendant’s level of intoxication and cut them off instead of continuing to serve them. 

If one of these conditions is met, then you may be able to pursue compensation from the establishment that served alcohol to the drunk driver who hit you. 

Call a Kent County, MI Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

If you were hurt by a drunk driver, John D. Tallman, PLC, Attorney at Law may be able to help you pursue compensation from multiple sources. Our experienced Grand Rapids drunk driving accident lawyers will fight for you to be compensated by any eligible entities. Call 616-361-8850 for a free consultation. 




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