Part 2 of The Key Facts Georgians Should Know about Intoxicated Driving Accident Claims
This is the second installment of our two-part blog discussing important facts about drunk driving accident claims. This second installment focuses on social host and dram Shop liability. If you have specific questions after reviewing this two-part blog post, we invite you to contact our Atlanta personal injury attorneys, so we can answer your questions and advise you of your legal rights and remedies.
Can I sue a social host who served alcohol to the other driver if the other driver lacks insurance?
States handle the issue of liability of a social hosts in different ways. Many states have separate statutes for dram shop liability and social host liability while other states do not recognize either dram shop or social host liability. Georgia combines both types of liability into a single statute. A social host can be liable for furnishing alcohol to someone that the host has reason to know will be driving soon if the person served is a minor or "noticeably intoxicated."
How does dram shop liability differ from social host liability?
Georgia's Dram Shop Act imposes liability on businesses like bar, restaurants and other establishments or individuals that furnish, sell or serve alcohol to patrons that are noticeably intoxicated or under 21.
How is social host and dram shop liability impacted if a minor uses a fake ID to procure alcohol?
O.C.G.A. Section 51-1-40 provides a defense to businesses and social hosts that serve alcohol when the driver who causes injury or a wrongful death provides a proper form of ID. If the underage drinker tenders proper identification, this provides "rebuttable proof" that the alcohol was not sold or served to the underage drinker knowingly, willfully or unlawfully. However, in some cases it can be proven that the business knew or should have known that the ID was false or that it was not proper.
Can a social host or business that serves or sells alcohol to my underage child be subject to a wrongful death or personal injury claim if my child was the intoxicated driver?
While some states permit lawsuits to be brought by an underage driver involved in a collision, Georgia did not at the time this article was written permit underage drunk drivers to pursue personal injury claims based on dram shop or social host liability.
Why is the applicability of Georgia's Dram Shop Act so important?
If you are involved in a collision with a drunk driver, the driver may not have adequate insurance coverage. Since many drunk drivers who cause accidents are repeat offenders, there is a reasonably high probability that a drunk driver will not have a valid driver's license or insurance. In this situation, the insurance of a social host or business that serves alcohol might provide the best chance for you to obtain a full recovery. Additionally, there may be uninsured motorist coverage available that could afford you protection either under your policy, the car you were riding in, or potentially under a resident relative's policy, and these benefits can also apply if you are a pedestrian hit by a drunk driver. .
If you or someone close to you is injured in a crash involving an intoxicated driver, our experienced Atlanta and Georgia auto and truck accident lawyers might be able to help.
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