Drunk drivers aren't the only ones who pay for a DUI accident. Under Georgia's dram shop law, the bars and restaurants that served the driver could be held liable as well.
Last month, Kelly Stevens, co-host of B 98.5's "Vikki and Kelly Show," was injured in a brush with a wrong-way driver on Ga. 400. Now Stevens plans to sue, not the wrong-way driver, but the bars that served her, according to Channel 2 Action News.
Stevens was driving to work when he saw 22-year-old Carlyn Emily Royball speeding towards him on Ga. 400. He swerved to avoid Royball, causing his car to roll over.
Royball died in the accident. Stevens suffered a broken arm and a broken leg.
"I'm completely dependent on other people," Stevens told Channel 2. "I can't walk. I can't bathe myself. I can't go to the bathroom. I can't feed myself. You feel like a burden all the time.
There are two situations in which a plaintiff can bring a claim under the state's dram shop law. First, the victim or his family can sue a bar or restaurant that served alcohol to a minor. For example, if an underage driver got drunk at a bar and then caused an accident, the bar could be held liable for any injuries.
Second, an establishment can be held liable if it served alcohol to a customer who was visibly intoxicated to the point that a reasonable person would notice. Bartenders or waiters should stop serving a patron as soon as she begins to show obvious signs of drunkenness, like slurred speech, clumsy movements, or a belligerent attitude.
Johnson argues that the bars should've cut Royball off. "Her BAC was almost three times the limit," Johnson told Channel 2. "It's almost impossible not to have observed that she was intoxicated."
If the suit is successful, Stevens could receive damages for any medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages that resulted from the accident.
- Call an Atlanta DUI Lawyer (FindLaw)
- B 98.5's Kelly Stevens injured after wrong-way crash (CBS News)
- DUI Offense Basics (FindLaw)
- Make the Bar Pay: Understanding Georgia's Dram Shop Law (FindLaw's Atlanta DUI Law Blog)