Drunk Driving & Dram Shop Claims

Hit or Injured by a Drunk Driver?  You’re Not Alone!

Alcohol Cases and Dram ShopRoughly 30% of all Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related accident at some time in their lives. In 2011 alone, approximately 350,000 people were injured and 9,878 people were killed in crashes involving alcohol. Even more disturbing, drunk driving is the nation’s most frequently committed violent crime, killing someone every 53 minutes.

For non-fatal collisions, drunk drivers are responsible for untold numbers of catastrophic and disabling injuries including traumatic brain injuries.

How We Can Help You

Seeking monetary damages or compensation from a drunk driver involves an overlap of criminal law and civil law. Because alcohol cases involve these two realms we monitor any criminal charges that are brought and coordinate its resolution with your civil claim. The timing is important because someone charged with a crime (DUI) can invoke the 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to answer any questions about his or her driving or alcohol consumption in your civil case. After resolution of his or her criminal case, the protections of the 5th Amendment are generally not available.

Avoid The Roadway and Drunk Drivers During These Holidays!

1 Thanksgiving 502
2 Fourth of July 491
3 Labor Day 487
4 Memorial Day 425
5 New Year’s Day 423
6 Christmas 420

Contrary to what you might think, there is little evidence of increased drinking and driving collisions on St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo. Halloween and New Year’s Day, however, see more pedestrian deaths than any other days of the year.  Not surprisingly, national data shows a 41% increase in fatalities in the hours following a Super Bowl (not a national holiday yet!). Finally, avoid driving during a holiday if it lands on a Saturday; this day of the week sees more fatalities than any other day followed by Friday, Sunday, Thursday, Wednesday, Monday and Tuesday.

Drinking Establishments That Overserve Customers May Also Be Liable for Your Injuries Under Our “Dram Shop” Laws!

Washington State “Dram Shop” laws impose an obligation on alcohol vendors not to sell or serve liquor to visibly intoxicated patrons. 37 states, including Washington, have adopted dram shop laws.  In Washington State, dram shop laws apply to commercial alcohol vendors and quasi-commercial hosts (host does not sell alcohol but has a business interest in furnishing alcohol to its guests).

To hold a commercial alcohol vendor or quasi-commercial host liable for damages caused by a drunk driver, the following must be proven:

  • The establishment is a commercial vendor of alcohol (or a quasi-commercial host);
  • The establishment sold, served or furnished alcohol to the drunk driver;
  • The drunk driver was apparently under the influence of alcohol (or in the case of a quasi-commercial host, was obviously intoxicated) at the time the alcohol was sold, served or furnished; and
  • The sale, service or furnishing of alcohol proximately caused the injury or death.

These legal requirements require significant and timely investigation, but can identify another responsible party for your injuries. Significant injury cases or fatalities almost always merit investigation of a dram shop claim.

We provide victims and their families with experienced and aggressive representation in cases against drunk drivers. These cases can pit the rights of criminals (drunk drivers) and irresponsible alcohol vendors against those of innocent and injured people. Don’t leave your case to chance: know your rights and preserve your claim for compensation. Contact us for a confidential and free consultation.