After a car crash, liability determines who pays the costs. When a drunk driver swerves into your lane of traffic or falls asleep at the wheel and loses control, they will be the one with financial responsibility for the crash that results.
Often, drunk drivers can cause major property damage and severe injuries to someone else. Although their insurance policy may help cover those costs, there isn’t a guarantee of full coverage. The other driver could have less insurance than you need to pay your medical bills or replace your vehicle. They might have been out on the road without an active insurance policy.
Can you potentially bring a claim against a third party to recover your expenses after a drunk driving crash?
Dram shop laws can help you pay your bills
Sometimes, there could be a business with some responsibility for the crash that you experienced. Under Kentucky law, every bar and restaurant that serves alcohol has to secure a license and comply with state regulations. There are two scenarios in which their non-compliance with liquor laws might lead to dram shop liability.
Under dram shop laws, those affected by drunk drivers can bring financial claims against businesses that served the drunk driver alcohol. If a restaurant or bar serves alcohol to someone under the age of 21 who then left and caused the crash, the business could face a civil lawsuit. If the wait staff decided to serve someone who is visibly intoxicated another drink, that could also open the business up to financial liability.
The benefits of a dram shop claim include another source of compensation and possibly access to a bigger insurance policy.
Third-party claims can quickly become complicated
To connect a driver’s losses with a business’s misconduct can take a bit of effort. You would have a hard time managing a dram shop claim or similar third-party claim without professional support, as such claims are far more involved than a straightforward insurance claim.
Dram shop claims often lead to civil court proceedings, although the business or their insurance company may settle before you go to court. Learning more about the rules that help protect you from drunk drivers and the costs suffered in drunk driving crashes can help you seek reimbursement after a wreck.