It is common knowledge that when a person causes an accident while driving under the influence, they can be held responsible for their actions. However, it is important to know that they may not be the only ones. It is possible for a third party to be held responsible as well. If the intoxicated driver was served alcohol at an establishment or another individual’s home before they caused an accident, the server can be held liable as well. This is possible through dram shop and social host laws. Read on and reach out to our seasoned New Jersey drunk driving accident lawyers to learn more.
Dram Shop Laws
Dram shop laws exist in the state of New Jersey to protect victims of drunk driving accidents. The law states that a person who was injured by an intoxicated driver can seek damages from a vendor who served the driver before the accident. If a vendor notices that the individual is visibly intoxicated, they are required to cut off service. Signs of intoxication can include slurred speech, glassy or bloodshot eyes, difficulty finishing sentences, incoherent speech, stumbling, falling, impaired fine-motor skills, and more.
This law affects bars, restaurants, and private events. If the establishment continues to serve them, they can be liable for the accident as well as possible injuries and damages. Dram shop laws are applied under the following conditions:
- The vendor continues to serve alcohol to a person who is visibly intoxicated
- The vendor knew or reasonably should have known the person was under the legal drinking age of 21
Social Host Laws
Social host laws allow the victim of a drunk driving accident to seek damages from a host who provided alcohol to an intoxicated person. This may be at a party or event. The law also includes self-service of alcohol or alcohol that is brought by guests to the party. If the guest goes on to cause an accident after the party, the host can be held liable.
Social host laws can be applied in the following situations:
- If the person was visibly intoxicated in front of the host
- If beverages were provided “under circumstances manifesting reckless disregard of the consequences” to another
- The circumstances created a risk of harming another
- The victim’s injuries were a result of a motor vehicle accident caused by the intoxicated driver that was served by the host
What Do I Do if I Am Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident?
It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention after being involved in an accident. This ensures that you take care of any potential injuries. In doing so, all information regarding the injuries can be documented. This allows you to begin building a case against the individual or establishment that caused the accident. In addition to this, a police report from the accident can also be used to build a case. This contains all information regarding the accident and the circumstances surrounding it. When building a case, it is important to retain the services of an experienced attorney to collect the right information to prove your dram shop or social host liability claim.