Recovering From a Drunk Driver: Can I Sue the Bar?

Feb 27, 2015 - Articles - by Dodson & Hooks, APLC

We’ve all seen it: gregarious bartenders, distracted by dozens of patrons, over-serving a customer who probably didn’t need that last drink — and everyone knew it. Unfortunately, this situation can give rise to a subsequent, serious auto accident on the way home – one that could have possibly been avoided with one less whiskey in place of a much-needed glass of water or cup of coffee.

If you are a recent victim of this or a similar scenario, you may be questioning the liability of those involved, including both the driver and his server on the night in question. An experienced Baton Rouge auto accident lawyer can help clarify this issue under Louisiana law and assist you with recovering the injury compensation you deserve following a collision with a drunk driver.

Louisiana’s Bartender Liability Laws (or Lack Thereof)

In short, a bartender in Louisiana is alleviated from responsibility for any subsequent auto accidents or personal injuries occurring after service. This law has been codified in Section 9:2800.1 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes Annotated as follows:

The legislature finds and declares that the consumption of intoxicating beverages, rather than the sale or serving or furnishing of such beverages, is the proximate cause of any injury, including death and property damage, inflicted by an intoxicated person upon himself or upon another person.

What does this mean? In short, the Louisiana Legislature has decreed it the responsibility of the consumer, as opposed to the server, to remedy the costs of any injuries or damages caused as a result of ingesting intoxicating beverages within the state. In other words, bartenders are off the hook – and as an injured victim, your recourse is generally against the drunk driver responsible for your injuries.

How to Recover Following an Drunk Driving Accident

If you were recently injured by a drunk driver, you may be able to recover from that driver through his or her insurance provider – although this is a long shot in many instances as insurance policies generally do not cover accidents occurring as a result of driver intoxication. Instead, you and your attorney must mount a personal injury action based on negligence against the driver responsible for your injuries, which may require proving that the driver was, in fact, under the influence at the time of the crash.

During the evidence discovery period, there are several ways to possibly establish driver intoxication at the time of the crash, including any of the following:

  • Video surveillance (with a time stamp) of the consumption of intoxicating beverages prior to the incident
  • Proof of purchase of alcohol either at a bar or liquor store preceding the crash
  • Evidence of alcohol consumption in the vehicle (g., empty bottles or cans)
  • Documented failed sobriety test at the accident scene
  • Blood alcohol or Breathalyzer test results

Contact Dodson & Hooks APLC Today!

If you recently endured an auto accident and believe a drunk driver may be to blame, we encourage you to contact our offices right away for a consultation. To make an appointment at our Baton Rouge location, call (225) 372-1666 today.

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