Driving under the influence (DUI) accidents can have devastating consequences for victims and their families. While the intoxicated driver is often held accountable, it's important to recognize that other parties may also bear responsibility for the accident. In Georgia, the Dram Shop Law allows victims of DUI accidents to hold alcohol providers accountable for their role in contributing to the incident.
This blog post will explore the key aspects of Georgia's Dram Shop Law, the criteria for holding alcohol providers liable, and how a skilled DUI attorney can help ensure that all responsible parties are held accountable for their actions.
What is Georgia's Dram Shop Law?
Georgia's Dram Shop Law, codified in O.C.G.A. § 51-1-40, is a statute that enables victims of DUI accidents to seek compensation from alcohol providers who knowingly served alcohol to an intoxicated person or a minor, which then led to the person causing an accident. This law is designed to hold establishments accountable for their role in contributing to DUI accidents and to encourage responsible alcohol service.
Criteria for Holding Alcohol Providers Liable
In order to hold an alcohol provider liable under Georgia's Dram Shop Law, the following criteria must be met:
- The provider must have served alcohol to the intoxicated person or minor;
- The provider must have known or should have known that the person was intoxicated or underage;
- The provider's act of serving alcohol must have been the proximate cause of the accident; and
- The victim must have suffered damages as a result of the accident.
If these criteria are met, the alcohol provider can be held liable for damages in addition to the intoxicated driver.
Types of Alcohol Providers Covered by the Dram Shop Law
Georgia's Dram Shop Law applies to a wide range of alcohol providers, including:
- Restaurants and bars;
- Liquor stores;
- Private clubs;
- Social hosts (individuals who host parties or gatherings where alcohol is served); and
- Event organizers (such as those responsible for organizing concerts, festivals, or sporting events where alcohol is served).
It's important to note that the law does not apply to individuals who merely furnish alcohol to an intoxicated person or minor, but only to those who actually serve the alcohol.
How a DUI Attorney Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a DUI accident, it's essential to consult with an experienced DUI attorney who is knowledgeable about Georgia's Dram Shop Law. An attorney can help you:
- Investigate the circumstances of the accident to determine if the Dram Shop Law applies;
- Identify all potentially liable parties, including alcohol providers;
- Gather evidence to support your claim, such as witness statements, surveillance footage, and documentation of alcohol sales;
- Negotiate with insurance companies and other parties on your behalf; and
- Represent you in court, if necessary, to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
At Henrickson & Sereebutra, our skilled DUI attorneys have extensive experience handling DUI accident cases involving Georgia's Dram Shop Law. We understand the complexities of these cases and are committed to holding all responsible parties accountable for their actions. If you need assistance with a DUI accident case, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.