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How can dram shop laws affect your DUI case?

Despite millions of dollars having been spent on public education campaigns, reckless drivers still engage in drinking and driving. When they do, their intoxicated state makes it substantially more likely that they will get into an accident. This is how innocent people get hurt every day, and why they wind up needing to file lawsuits against the drivers who run into them. If you are filing a lawsuit in a DUI case, you should know about dram shop laws.

What are dram shop laws?

Dram shop laws are laws that let you sue the bar or other establishment that sold alcohol to the drunk driver who hit you. The laws are based on the premise that the establishment can be considered complicit in the accident and correspondingly legally liable for damages awarded to you if you win your case.

Why are they called that?

The term dram shop came from 18th century English establishments that sold gin. Patrons bought it by the spoonful, called a dram, and that is how bars came to be called dram shops.

How is fault proven?

Proving fault is not easy. It will take working with a skilled attorney who has experience with winning DUI cases. You will need to show that the place you name did sell alcohol to the drunk driver who hit you. You will also need to show the injuries that you suffered, documenting their severity and their long-term repercussions.

Finally, you'll need to show proximate cause between the sale of the alcohol and the intoxication of the drunk driver who hit you. Your attorney can explain the terms, how to proceed, and if prevailing upon dram shop laws is viable for your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Dram Shop Laws," accessed March 24, 2016

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