When Bars and Restaurants Over-Serve Patrons Who Cause Drunk Driving Accidents, We Hold Them Responsible for Their Share of the Injuries and Damages Sustained
Michigan dram shop liability laws provide that the owners of commercial eating and drinking establishments may be held legally liable for the damages caused by intoxicated patrons if they over-served alcohol to patrons who were visibly intoxicated. They may also have liability if they serve alcohol to those who are underage.
When someone is injured or killed by a drunk driver, we want to know the facts and circumstances concerning how the driver came to be intoxicated. Often, drunk driving occurs after over-consuming alcohol at restaurants and drinking establishments. In these situations, we want to find out whether the person was in fact already intoxicated but yet continued to be served alcohol by the establishment.
To Prove Liability, We Must Show that the Establishment Continued to Over-Serve Alcohol
It is not sufficient to show that a person came to be intoxicated at a restaurant or bar. In order to prevail, we must show that the establishment continued to serve alcohol to the person when it was clear that the person was already intoxicated.
In seeking to prove our case, we may interview waiters or waitresses, check the receipts of the intoxicated person to understand how much alcohol was purchased and consumed, depose (question under oath) others who were with the intoxicated person during the time that the person became intoxicated, or seek to obtain video of the person consuming alcohol (if this is available).
Making a Case for Dram Shop Liability Can Be Difficult.
Those serving the alcohol may deny that they believed that the person was drunk in order to protect themselves. A jury may believe that the intoxicated person should bear the liability for his or her actions, not the commercial establishment.
We understand the hurdles that must be overcome in order to prove liability. Our goal in a dram shop case is to present clear proof of liability to a jury that the conduct of the restaurant or bar was so outrageous that they must be held accountable for their actions and the injury and death that resulted. This is the only way to fully recover for our clients, and the only way to send a message to the owners of such establishments that conduct that places all of us at risk will not be tolerated.
If you have been injured or a family member has been killed by a drunk driver who may have been overserved alcohol by a commercial establishment, please call us.
We will meet with you for a free consultation so that we can learn about your case, and so that we can explain how we will work vigorously on your behalf if we are hired to prove each and every aspect of your case. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not incur any fees unless and until we recover a settlement or award for you.