Last year, police arrested 329 people in Colorado for DUI during the days surrounding New Year’s Eve. When you consider that the number of people charged with DUI is only a fraction of the number of drunk drivers on the road, this time of year can be one of the most dangerous times to drive.
If you were injured by a drunk driver, it is important that you know your rights and options. You may know that you can seek compensation from the impaired driver. But did you know that the establishment that overserved the driver may also be liable?
Colorado’s dram shop law provides a potential source of additional compensation – typically up to $150,000 – if a liquor vendor knowingly sells alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated or who is under 21. Liquor vendors include places such as bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels. In addition, adults who serve alcohol to a person who is underage may be held liable for injuries they cause.
Dram shop cases are complex because you must prove that the driver was visibly intoxicated or underage and that the server knew it. Working with a lawyer is best in cases like this.
Drunk drivers tend to cause catastrophic injuries in vehicle accidents. The victims and their families will likely need significant financial compensation to cover the cost of medical bills, lost income and benefits, and pain and suffering. Filing a lawsuit against the drunk driver and, when appropriate, against the establishment or person who overserved him or her may be the only way to cover all of these losses adequately.
There is a one-year deadline for filing a dram shop lawsuit in Colorado, so speaking with an attorney soon is a good idea.