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There can be third-party liability for some drunk driving wrecks

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Liability after a drunk driving crash is often much more straightforward than with other kinds of collisions. You need to know who is at fault to make an insurance claim or to take a negligent driver to civil court. Often, drivers who directly cause collisions will try to avoid responsibility by lying to the police or hiding important details, like the fact that they had their phones in their hands when they crashed.

Such obfuscation often isn’t successful after a drunk driving wreck. Even if the driver who caused the wreck doesn’t want to admit their responsibility, there will be chemical test records affirming their impairment to help you build your case. The worse the consequences of the crash, the greater the possibility that the insurance the other driver carries will leave you with expenses that you have to pay yourself.

Sometimes, you may have an option of bringing a claim against a third party that was not even present at the scene of the crash. When would a third-party liability claim be possible after a drunk driving collision in Washington?

When the drunk driver came from a bar or restaurant

Washington has a dram shop law, which is a statute that applies to businesses that serve alcohol. Bars and restaurants have an obligation to abide by alcohol laws. If they break the law in one of two specific manners, they can open themselves up to claims by the people affected.

If the workers at a bar or restaurant serve alcohol to a minor or to someone who is already visibly under the influence of alcohol, the business could be liable if that individual goes on to cause a crash. The business may have some financial culpability for the damages caused by the drunk driver.

Why do people pursue dram shop claims?

Business insurance policies often provide far more coverage than an individual motor vehicle insurance policy would. Businesses typically have more assets than any given individual, which will mean more opportunities for compensation for someone with catastrophic injuries following a drunk driving crash. Additionally, dram shop claims serve as a powerful reminder of the duty that businesses that serve alcohol have to the public.

Learning more about your legal options after a drunk driving crash in Washington, such as a dram shop claim, can help you limit the lasting consequences of the wreck on your finances.