Liability For DUI/DWI Can Extend Beyond The Driver


In the event of an auto accident involving an intoxicated driver, it's usually no question that the intoxicated driver is held responsible for causing the accident. However, the driver may not be the only party who can be held liable for any injuries and damages that occur. The following highlights several other parties that could be held responsible for their role in a DUI/DWI accident and why.

Liquor-Serving Establishments

If a bar, restaurant or other license establishment serves a patron alcohol and discovers that said patron intends to drive home while intoxicated, the establishment has a legal duty to prevent that person from driving home drunk. The establishment can exercise their duty in a number of ways, including calling a taxi cab for the patron or contacting the police for further help.

If a license establishment fails to take the above steps to prevent an intoxicated person from getting behind the wheel of the vehicle, then they may be found liable for any subsequent accidents that could possibly occur.

Police Officers and Other Law Enforcement Officials

If a police officer discovers that a driver is intoxicated, then they are duty-bound to prevent that individual from getting behind the wheel of their vehicle. Otherwise, the officer in question may be found liable for any damages or injuries caused in a subsequent crash involving the intoxicated driver.

In spite of the potential for such liability, it's often difficult if not impossible to act against these parties and civil court. Keep in mind that various laws regarding qualified immunity often prevent victims from filing civil lawsuits against police officers and law enforcement agencies.

Social Hosts 

If an intoxicated person leaves a social event where alcohol is served and gets into an auto accident on the way home, then there's a good chance that the host of the social event may wind up shouldering some liability for the accident and any injuries and/or damage that occurred. However, the host's level of liability largely depends on their state's rules and regulations:

  • In some cases, a social host's liability is usually limited to injuries that directly occur on the premises.
  • In others, the host is only found liable if it can be proven that gross negligence was involved (for example, the host knew that one of their guests was intoxicated, but made no effort to prevent them from driving home drunk).
  • Some states will not hold a social host responsible for any actions involving an intoxicated guest who becomes involved in a DUI/DWI accident.

The above information not only proves that liability for a DUI/DWI accident doesn't just stop with the driver, but it can also help you understand your legal risks. Contact a lawyer like Elgart Ronald H for more information.


18 November 2015

do you really need an attorney?

There are so many legal situations that you can find yourself involved with, but do those situations really require that you hire an attorney? Some instances you may not need an attorney working with you, but in other situations, an attorney is definitely a necessity. This blog contains tips and advice for working through the different elements of the legal system. You will find information that can help you determine if/when you need to hire an attorney to represent your best interests. Knowing this information can help you avoid the costly mistake of taking on the legal system without someone who knows how the system works.