A Connecticut Personal Injury Firm Committed To Excellence

North Haven, CT - skyline

Can a bar or restaurant be at fault for a drunk driving crash?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2021 | Car Accidents

Drunk driving is a frustrating kind of crime. The people who get behind the wheel while intoxicated typically know exactly how dangerous their actions are, but they prioritize their own convenience above the safety of others on the road.

Many drunk drivers are habitual offenders who get behind the wheel again and again after having too much to drink. Connecticut holds these drivers accountable by taking their licenses and prosecuting them, especially if they caused injury to others or property damage.

Unfortunately, the people driving while drunk may not have the resources to compensate the victims of their crimes. Those who suffer massive losses because of a drunk driver may have a claim against the business they patronized before the crash.

Businesses must comply with state law

Connecticut restricts the sale of alcohol. Businesses can only serve those over the age of 21. They have to comply with limitations on when and how they serve alcohol. They also have to train their staff to know when to cut off a customer who has had too much to drink.

Connecticut liquor law is very clear that it is not legal to just serve alcohol to someone already visibly intoxicated. Unfortunately, plenty of bartenders and wait staff will bend this rule because they don’t think anyone will enforce it. They might serve one last drink to someone who has already started to slur their words. They figure they won’t be a problem, but if that person leaves and then crashes their car, the business could be partially responsible for the crash that resulted. 

Why dram shop protections are so important

Drunk drivers may not have the necessary personal resources to compensate those whose lives they negatively impact. They may not be able to pay for property damages, let alone years of lost wages. Especially if the state has prosecuted the driver, further limiting their income, a dram shop case against a business can help those hurt by a drunk driver.

The business or its insurance policies can provide more compensation than an individual. Additionally, bringing a dram shop claim against a business can create a significant financial penalty for bad business practices and can help push businesses into better compliance with safe alcohol service rules.

The more you know about the laws in Connecticut, the better prepared you will be to respond if a drunk-driving crash affects your family.