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Drunk Driving Accidents: Who is Responsible?

Drunk driving isn’t just illegal, it’s also dangerous. Alcohol can severely impact a driver’s ability to multitask, judge distances, pay attention to the road, and steer a vehicle, which is why drunk drivers cause so many injuries and fatalities every year. In fact, it is estimated that 28 people are killed in accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver everyday in the United States, and many more suffer serious injuries. When someone is injured or killed in a drunk driving accident, who is held responsible? Here are some of the parties that could be held liable:


Many people choose to drive drunk so they can get home after consuming alcohol at a bar or restaurant. In some cases, the licensed vendor that sold the drunk driver the alcohol can be held responsible for the victim’s injuries. However, the dram shop in Iowa states that the vendor can only be held liable if the drunk driver was served alcohol when they were already intoxicated or appeared to be intoxicated.

For example, let’s say a bartender continues to serve a man who is slurring his speech, uneasy on his feet, and visibly drunk. If this man gets into a car accident on his way home and injures or kills another driver, the vendor is liable since they continued to serve an intoxicated man alcohol. However, the vendor cannot be held liable if they immediately stopped serving the man drinks when they noticed that he appeared to be intoxicated.

Proving that a vendor is responsible for a victim’s injuries can be difficult since it requires retracing the drunk driver’s steps to determine where they were served alcohol and how much they drank. Even though it is challenging, it’s not impossible with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Social Hosts

People who serve alcohol to guests at a private residence as opposed to a bar or restaurant are known as social hosts. These individuals can also be held liable for a victim’s injuries in certain situations. But in Iowa, social hosts can only be held liable if the drunk driver was a minor and obviously intoxicated.

For example, if a woman is hosting a dinner party at her house, she should know which of her guests are over the age of 21. She should also watch her guests carefully to determine who is visibly intoxicated or who is drinking so much that they will quickly become intoxicated so she can prevent them from consuming more alcohol. If the woman continues to serve a minor alcohol even though he is visibly intoxicated, she can be held liable if he crashes into another car and injures someone on his way home. Even if he wasn’t visibly intoxicated at the party, the woman can still be held liable if she served him so much alcohol that she should have known he would eventually become intoxicated.

As previously mentioned, the social host can only be held liable if the drunk driver was a minor. This means that a social host who serves alcohol to a legal adult even though they are noticeably intoxicated cannot be held liable if the adult injures or kills someone.

The Driver

In every personal injury or wrongful death claim, the victims must be able to prove that their injuries were caused by the defendant’s negligent behavior. There are many different types of negligent behavior, but one of them is drunk driving. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is considered a negligent behavior because it puts other drivers on the road in danger. As a result, drunk drivers are also held liable for injuries and fatalities caused in drunk driving accidents.

Multiple Parties

It’s important to note that multiple parties can be held liable for an accident. For example, let’s say a bartender serves alcohol to a man who is visibly intoxicated, and the man then gets into a car accident and seriously injures the other driver. In this case, both the bar and the other driver could be held liable since both contributed to the cause of the accident. The bar’s employee was negligent because he continued to serve someone who was already intoxicated, and the driver was negligent because he got behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. The victim in this accident would need to file a personal injury claim against both parties in order to recover as much compensation as possible.

Recovering Compensation in a Drunk Driving Accident

Victims who have been injured by a drunk driver may be able to recover economic, non-economic, and punitive damages by filing a personal injury claim. Economic damages are awarded to victims who have incurred expenses or suffered losses as a result of the accident. This type of compensation covers current and future medical bills, lost wages, and any other injury-related expense or loss.

Non-economic damages, which are often referred to as compensation for pain and suffering, are awarded to victims who have suffered due to their injuries. For example, victims who suffered painful injuries or who experienced a great deal of mental anguish after the accident could be awarded non-economic damages.

Drunk driving victims may be awarded punitive damages as well. Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the defendant acted with extreme negligence. These damages are not supposed to reimburse or compensate the victim for anything that they experienced as a result of the accident. Instead, these damages are meant to punish the defendant and deter negligent behavior in the future.

Have you been injured by a drunk driver? If so, contact Trial Lawyers for Justice today to schedule a consultation regarding your case. Our skilled personal injury attorneys will fight tirelessly to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries.’,’Drunk Driving Accidents: Who is Responsible?

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