Auto accidents involving alcohol can often be more serious or life-threatening than those not involving alcohol. Statistically, drivers who get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol are more likely to cause auto accidents. It is also possible that a drunk driver is driving without a license due to previous offenses or does not have valid auto insurance. If that is the case, then it is important to determine where the driver was served or purchased the alcohol as well as the car they were driving at the time of the accident. It is possible that not only the drunk driver, but also the supplier of alcohol can be held liable for the injured party’s damages. This is where Georgia’s Dram Shop and Social Host liability laws come into play.
“Dram Shop” refers to a bar/nightclub, restaurant, liquor store, concert or sporting event venue, or other business licensed to sell alcohol to the general public. A dram shop can be held liable for selling alcohol to someone underage or to a visibly intoxicated customer, if the seller of alcohol knows that that customer could get behind the wheel shortly after.
“Social host” liability refers to liability of a person or business that hosts a social function or private event where alcohol is provided to attendees. If a host serves someone underage or visibly intoxicated, and the host is aware that the person will likely drive shortly after the event, then that host may be liable to any third parties injured by that person. The liable party could include someone hosting a party, work event, tailgate party, or any other social event where alcoholic beverages are provided.
A victim in a dram shop or social host liability matter is generally the person injured or killed by a drunk driver. The drunk driver would face criminal charges. In addition, Georgia’s Dram Shop and Social Host liability statute provides that such victims can pursue a civil lawsuit against the business or individual who served the drunk driver the alcohol.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense. In Georgia, it is classified as a misdemeanor if another party is not injured. If the driver injures or kills someone (including a passenger in the driver’s own car), the drunk driver will be prosecuted for a felony, in addition to civil liability claims. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC can help if you or a loved one was severely injured or killed by an auto accident involving a drunk driver. We can help you understand your rights to collect damages under Georgia’s Dram Shop and Social Host liability laws. Contact us today for a free consultation.