Victims of drunk driving accidents can file lawsuits against the intoxicated drivers just as individuals can file lawsuits against sellers of alcoholic beverages per Georgia's dram shop liability laws. There are a number of reasons for DUI lawsuits. If you were arrested for a DUI and are not only facing criminal penalties, but a civil lawsuit, then speak with an Atlanta DUI attorney from our firm.
O.C.G.A. § 51-1-40 contains what is known as "dram shop" laws. This is a legal term to describe establishments that sell or otherwise provide alcohol. Per these laws, it is illegal to sell alcohol to a minor (someone under the age of 21) and it is also illegal to serve alcohol to someone who presents a clear danger to themselves or others. In many instances, if someone is visibly and noticeably intoxicated, then it would be illegal to serve or sell them alcohol. It is also illegal to serve alcohol to a person if there is reason to believe they will soon be driving. Doing so is considered "the proximate cause of injury or damage."
Consider this case that took place in 2006. A restaurant was sued for $8 million for selling alcoholic beverages to a man who was responsible for killing a family in a drunk driving collision. According to this lawsuit, the driver and his girlfriend were visibly drunk and even appeared high on drugs but they were not refused alcohol until hours after being in the restaurant. When the couple left the restaurant, the lawsuit claimed they were visibly drunk and stumbling while getting into their vehicle. The lawyer representing the man whose family was killed in the accident stated an "egregious lack of concern" on behalf of the restaurant that sold the alcohol to the intoxicated couple.
It is illegal for establishments to sell alcohol to minors and visibly intoxicated individuals, but is it illegal for others to give or sell alcohol to these individuals? For example, are parents liable for their children's actions if they give their underage children alcohol? Consider this case that took place in 2005. The hosts of a party were sued by the parents of a DUI accident victim. The individual who caused this crash was only 16 years old and allegedly smuggled alcohol into a party. While the parents who supervised and hosted the party did not directly provide the alcohol, the lawsuit stated that they did not take the reasonable steps to prevent the incident from happening.
If a lawsuit is being filed against you for a DUI-related incident, please do not hesitate to contact an Atlanta DUI defense attorney from the firm. The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson has successfully resolved more than 4,600 cases. For a free consultation, call today.