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Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys

Can a bar owner be held liable for causing a drunk driving crash?

Under Missouri law, any bar, restaurant, liquor store, or individual who serves too much alcohol to someone who later causes a car accident may be held liable for crash injuries. Victims of a drunk driving crash—or after fatal accidents, the victim’s family—can sue the person or business that over-served alcohol to the drunk driver under a statute commonly known as the dram shop law.

Dram Shop Law Liability After a Drunk Driving Crash

While dram shop law allows families to seek compensation from a negligent business, it can be very difficult to gather enough evidence to support the claim. There are three main requirements to bringing a dram shop case against a business:

  • The claim must be brought by the victim or by a person who has suffered personal injury or death as a result of the accident.
  • Claims can only be brought against a person who is licensed to sell intoxicating liquor, by the drink, for consumption on the premises.
  • The evidence must show that the seller knowingly served intoxicating beverages to a visibly intoxicated person.

The last requirement is the main reason so many of these claims fail. Firstly, the victim must prove that a bartender—or other individual—should have recognized that the driver was intoxicated. Next, victims must be able to show that the bartender’s actions directly contributed to the crash. In many cases, a driver has had drinks in several places, so it can be hard to hold a single business accountable. Lastly, victims should gather witnesses who were at the bar and can attest to the driver’s condition. Tracking down these witnesses isn’t easy, and when they are found, their testimony may be in question if the witnesses were intoxicated as well.

The best way to determine dram shop liability is to consult with an attorney after your accident. We can investigate the circumstances of the crash on your behalf, conduct witness interviews, and consult with accident reconstruction teams to show how the negligent server directly contributed to your injuries. Learn more about protecting your case in our free guide, Don’t Wreck Your Injury Claim, or click the contact link on this page to tell us what happened to you.

 

James Roswold
James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.

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