How Do Dram Shop Cases Differ From Personal Injury Cases?
Dram shop cases and personal injury do not differentiate, that are the same and our Westchester personal injury lawyers have experience in all types of personal injury cases. A dram shop act is a subsection of the general personal injury field. So the only thing that might be different is just the elements of the offense, which is where was the alcohol consumed, how much they drank and establishment itself that played the role in the cause of the accident itself. That is usually not to incredibly hard to prove. There commonly is police involvement with these arrests. The police will do some sort of field sobriety tests shortly after the accident particularly when there are serious injuries or a fatality.
The person’s blood is normally taken, which will establish their blood alcohol content at that particular time, so it is not to terribly difficult, to prove.
What Are The Statute Of Limitations For A Dram Shop Case In New York?
The general statute of limitations for Dram Shop case is three years. Unless there has been a prosecution, then the crime victim statute law would apply and can lengthen that up to possibly six years.
Who Would Be Able to Bring a Claim Against An Establishment or a Person?
There are some nuances in who is and who cannot be held liable in New York for a Dram Shop Act for causing the intoxication of another. If you can identify the bartender or the person who sold the alcohol, such as the owner of a liquor store, then they most likely could be liable. The law basically states the person who has been drinking cannot bring a dram shop act to suit. The estate of a deceased individual who passed away due to excessive drinking and causing a fatality because of their inebriation cannot sue the establishment.
However, the spouse of the individual who suffered a fatality as a result of a drunken driving accident can sue the establishment where the intoxicated person was served. For example, that person who was drinking in a bar drove on the highway and then caused an accident and died in that accident. The estate of the individual who was actually driving cannot sue for pain and suffering of the driver because they were the ones that were drunk. However, the people who rely on that driver for financial support such as the wife and children can bring a wrongful death action against the facility that served the alcohol.
The other people that can bring a cause of action under the Dram Shop Act include passengers in the car who were injured because the driver was drunk. Although one nuance is the law has evolved to the point where if the passenger actually contributed to the intoxication, then they cannot sue. For example, if the passenger bought a bottle of alcohol and they were both drinking it, the driver and the passenger cannot be held liable. There have been a number of cases which have been fact-sensitive; in other words, it is for a jury to determine who contributed the alcohol, where and who was buying the drinks. Certainly anybody who was injured because a drunk driver caused an accident can sue under the dram shop act.
How Is Fault Determined In Alcohol Related Accidents?
Fault is determined by the actions of the driver. In an alcohol related car accident involving a vehicle, there is a certain level of intoxication, which causes or contributes to the accident, than there is fault. That could be anything from a car swerving or not taking evasive action, any standard of negligence that you would normally attempt to prove, can be proven in a dram shop act based on the facts.
Whenever there is a drunk driving accident, there is usually a criminal prosecution filed with a criminal investigation, which can be very thorough. An accident reconstruct officer will often report to the scene and establish the cause of the accident by using photographs and drawings to establish exactly how the accident occurred.
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