Most people are aware that a person injured in an alcohol-related accident can sue the drunk driver responsible. But did you know that victims of drunk driving accidents in Georgia can also sue the bar or restaurant that served alcohol to the driver?
Many states, including Georgia, have "dram shop laws," allowing a person who's been injured or a family whose loved one has been killed in a DUI accident to sue an establishment for serving alcohol to the intoxicated person. A successful dram shop action will require the bar or restaurant and its owners to pay personal injury damages to the victim or the victim's family.
Under Georgia's dram shop law, there are two circumstances in which a plaintiff can bring a claim. First, the victim or the victim's family can sue an establishment that served alcohol to a minor. That means that if the drunk driver was underage and a bar served him the alcohol that made him drunk, the bar could be held liable under Georgia's dram shop law.
Second, the bar or restaurant can be held liable if it served alcohol to a customer who was visibly intoxicated to the point that a reasonable person would notice it. That means that if you own an establishment that serves alcohol, you should stop serving patrons as soon as they begin to show obvious signs of drunkenness, including slurred speech, clumsy movements, or a belligerent attitude.
As the owner of a bar or restaurant, understanding Georgia's dram shop law will help you avoid contributing to a DUI accident. For everyone else, understanding the law will allow you to know your rights should you or a loved one ever become the victim of an alcohol-related accident.