If you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a pint of Guinness, or some other alcoholic beverage, it’s important that you’ve got plans for a safe ride home before you start drinking.
You Can Be Sued for Your Drunk Friend’s Accident–If You Own a Bar
Yep, you read that right. You can technically be sued for your drunk friend’s car accident if they ingested alcohol at your bar and you allowed them to drive home drunk. It’s called dram shop liability, and if you own a bar, you probably have special insurance for it. Some states allow fault to be apportioned, or shared. This means that multiple parties–including the plaintiff–can be liable for causing the plaintiff’s injuries. So if you serve your friend alcohol at your bar and your friend drives home drunk, you could be partially liable for any injuries that your drunk friend causes on the way home. Don’t own a bar? Well, you’re less likely to be liable for your friend’s drunk driving accident after they drank alcohol at your place. This is because dram shop liability only applies to commercial establishments. However, good friends don’t let friends drive drunk. Therefore, if a host knows, or reasonably should know, that their friend isn’t able to drive a vehicle safely, the host should take reasonable precautions to ensure that the intoxicated individual does not drive home impaired.
Dram Shop Liability Explained – Drunk Driving Lawyer Utah
The aforementioned is due to a statute called “dram shop rule.” It’s also been called “dram shop liability.” Under the dram shop rule, places that serve alcohol may be liable for what their patrons damage the intoxicated patrons cause after they leave the premises. In states that have dram shop laws, bars and restaurants may be able to protect themselves from such lawsuits by purchasing special insurance. This way, the bar or restaurant doesn’t have to pay out of pocket for the damages a patron causes. Again, although it may be unlikely for an individual to be personally sued for their drunk friend’s car accident, it’s important to explore other alternatives before just letting your friend drive drunk.
Offer to Get an Uber
If you’re hosting a party, and you suspect your friend isn’t sober enough to call for a ride, you can help them out by offering to get an Uber or Lyft for them. These rideshare apps have helped reduce the risk of drunk driving by providing people with affordable options to get home safely.
Depending on how intoxicated your friend is, you may have to actually use your phone in order to get the Uber or Lyft for them. You may even offer to pay for the rideshare if price becomes a concern for them. The full cost of a DUI can be in the thousands of dollars. Even the cheapest DUI is a lot more expensive than an Uber, Lyft, or Taxi.
Let Your Friend Stay the Night – Drunk Driving Lawyer Utah
You may also decide to let your friend stay the night. If you’re sober, you may offer to drive your friend home. You could spend the night at their house, and drive back to get their car in the morning. Even if your friend hasn’t had much to drink, it may be a good idea to offer them a place to stay anyway. A lot of times, people become lethargic and dehydrated after consuming alcohol. The aforementioned conditions may further inhibit their ability to drive. Sleeping for a few hours to sober up can never hurt.
If you’re hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party, and you’re serving alcohol, it may be a good idea to ask your friends how they’re going to get home before they start drinking. A lot of people drive drunk because they didn’t plan on how they’d get home before they started drinking. Since their judgment is impaired, they don’t realize how drunk they are and they end up driving home anyway. If your guests don’t know how they’re getting home, wait until you know how everyone’s going to get home before you start serving alcohol. It may be a good idea to have a designated driver, even at a house party.
There’s Only So Much You Can Do – Drunk Driving Lawyer Utah
There’s only so much you can do to prevent your friend from driving under the influence. You don’t have to risk a civil lawsuit in order to take reasonable precautions. If you’ve offered to let your friend stay the night, or you’ve offered to pay for their rideshare, there’s not much else you can do: you aren’t expected to tackle them when they try to walk out the door. If you’ve been injured, and you’re looking to get the maximum compensation for your injuries, contact Moxie Law Group today for a free case review.