Businesses serving alcohol to intoxicated customers who drive and injure others can be held accountable says Philadelphia accident lawyer Rand Spear.
Nearly a third of all traffic-related deaths in 2014 in the U.S. involved alcohol use, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, costing nearly 10,000 lives. Thirty states, including Pennsylvania, have dram shop acts, which could hold those serving alcohol to drunk drivers responsible, according to Philadelphia accident lawyer Rand Spear.
The laws can result in liability for restaurants, bars and liquor stores who serve alcohol to intoxicated customers who cause injuries and deaths to others due to their drunk driving. Spear discusses the issues of drunk driving in a podcast available on YouTube.
“If you serve liquor to someone who is visibly intoxicated then you become responsible. If you serve liquor to a minor you become responsible, so you really have to be very careful when you host parties even in your home,” Spear warns. “If people get drunk and you can see that they’re visibly intoxicated, they continue to drink, get behind the wheel and cause an accident you can be held responsible.”
Philadelphia car accident attorney Spear says if a drunk driver causes a car accident and injuries that driver is responsible because it’s illegal to drive while intoxicated. While investigating a case it may be discovered where they became intoxicated, whether it was at a bar or restaurant and if the driver was visibly intoxicated at the time.
“You want to take discovery and find out were they slurring their speech, were their eyes glassy, were they acting inappropriately? If the bartender, waitress or person serving them should have noticed this person was intoxicated then the person serving the liquor could be responsible,” accident attorney Spear says.
Many of those involved in accidents with a drunk driver suffer severe injuries, according to Spear. “We’ve had fatality cases, brain injury cases and just horrific injuries. Think very clearly before you get behind the wheel of a car and make sure you know not to drink and drive. It’s just not the right thing,” Spear says. He suggests planning ahead so a sober, designated driver takes people home.
Spear suggests families talk about drinking and driving to avoid possible accidents and harm to loved ones. “It’s not something that you should ignore or sweep under the rug. I have a 23 year old son that I have a conversation with him all of the time. Where are you going? Who are you going to be with? How are you going to get home? Will there be alcohol? I want all those questions answered,” Spear says.
Spear says his son can call him any time, day or night, and he will go pick him up to make sure he’s safe. He suggests that older family members also rely on younger ones to get them home safe because it’s not just younger people with less experience driving and drinking who are hazards.
“There’s plenty of adults in their thirties and forties and fifties who simply go out and drink too much. If you suspect that’s something going on in your family you need to sit down with the family and have a frank, honest conversation and come up with a game plan,” Spear suggests.
“There’s nothing wrong with a father calling a son and asking him to come pick him up because he’s had one too many. There needs to be cooperation within the family so that we can really cut down on the number of people that are drinking and driving. It’s all of our responsibility to do the right thing.”
If you or a family member were injured or killed in an accident involving a drunk driver, Philadelphia accident lawyer Rand Spear is available to help those living in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. His phone number is 888-373-4LAW.