For restaurants and hotels, alcohol can be a major source of company revenue. For bars and clubs, alcohol sales may comprise the vast majority of the money earned by the business on any given day. Selling alcohol to the public is very lucrative when done properly, and a profit incentive might lead to businesses doing things that are unhealthy for their patrons or unsafe for the general public.
Every business in Connecticut that serves alcohol will need to have licensing to do so. Those businesses will need to train their bartenders and waitstaff to comply not just with company policies but also with state alcohol regulations.
If you end up hurt in a crash caused by a drunk driver in Connecticut, there is a chance that the business they visited prior to the crash may be partially liable for your losses.
The dram shop law creates consequences for improper alcohol service
When a business that sells alcohol fully complies with state regulations, the business does not typically have any liability for the actions of its patrons. However, when there was a violation of the liquor law, there may be some liability for the company.
For example, if the staff at a bar or restaurant served someone who was under the age of 21 and that young adult then caused a crash, the dram shop law in Connecticut would pass some liability for the losses of those affected by the crash to the business.
The law in Connecticut also prohibits continuing to serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated. If the staff at a restaurant serves additional drinks to someone who slurred their speech or stumbled from their table to the bar, the business may be at least partially to blame if that patron went on to cause a crash that harmed others.
Why dram shop claims are useful
There are two very good reasons for those affected by drunk driving crash to consider a dram shop claim in addition to any insurance claim or personal injury claim involving the drunk driver.
The first reason is improved compensation, as the drunk driver may not have enough to cover the full costs of a major crash where someone suffers significant injuries or dies. A business will have more resources and better insurance than an individual driver and can therefore more thoroughly compensate those affected by someone driving drunk.
The second reason is to deter that business from continuing such dangerous practices. Financial consequences may be the only way to convince the business’s owners or managers to change how they train their workers or enforce liquor laws at the business.
Exploring if you have grounds for a dram shop claim after a drunk driving crash can help those harmed by the misconduct of others, even if one of the parties that did something wrong was a local business.