Connecticut Dram Shop laws hold liquor sellers liable for car accidents

Accidents happen all of the time; however, many may be preventable. This may have been the case in a recent event, which claimed the life a young man. Authorities allege that the driver of a car involved in a motor vehicle crash that killed a 19-year-old Connecticut resident was drunk and speeding at the time of the car accident.

According to reports, the driver passed another vehicle at a high speed and, as the car approached an intersection, he lost control and struck a nearby utility pole. The front passenger - a friend of the motorist - lost his life in the tragic incident.

Onsite investigators smelled an odor of alcohol emanating from the driver while at the scene. The driver, 20 years old and under the legal drinking age in the state, had a blood alcohol level of about .16 at the time of the accident, which is well over the legal limit.

For authorities and accident re-constructionists, unanswered questions are common - especially if a person does not survive the car crash. If authorities are successful, fault for the harm can be assigned to negligent individuals such as drivers or passengers who distract drivers. However, car accident victims may pursue other avenues of recovery.

For example, under Connecticut's Dram Shop Act, a liquor seller (i.e. a bar or restaurant) is liable to an injured third party if it sells liquor to an already intoxicated person who subsequently injures another as a result of such intoxication. In such cases, an injured person can recover up to $250,000 from the liquor seller.

If the accident involves the sale of alcohol to a minor and the minor subsequently causes harm, the victim or his or her family may pursue a claim for negligent service of alcohol to a minor against the liquor seller. There is no limit on recovery in such a situation. A wrongful death action may also be filed.

Under the Dram Shop laws, there are very specific procedural requirements. The victim must send notice to the liquor establishment of his or her intent to sue within 120 days of the accident or injury. In the event of death or incapacity, the estate of the victim must inform the establishment of the suit within 180 days.

Personal injury claims involve a number of detailed steps. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, secure the help of an experienced personal injury law attorney. A lawyer can help you evaluate your options and decipher what actions you need to take to obtain compensation to which you may be entitled.