Could a business be financially liable for a drunk driving wreck?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2023 | Car Accidents |

You typically have two options for financial compensation after a car crash. You can file an insurance claim, or you can file a civil lawsuit. The worse your injuries are, the more reimbursement you might need to fully cover your expenses.

Sometimes there are questions about who is at fault, which can complicate the process of getting proper compensation following a wreck. When the driver who caused the crash was under the influence of alcohol, establishing that they are to blame for the crash is typically a straightforward process. Unfortunately, they may not have enough insurance or personal property to fully cover the costs created by the crash.

Those affected by a drunk driving crash in Washington may sometimes need to look into alternate options for financial compensation. Occasionally, it may be possible to bring a financial claim against a business that served alcohol to that drunk driver.

When is a business to blame for what a patron does?

If a Washington establishment serves alcohol, the business needs to comply with all state laws. If the workers at a bar or restaurant make mistakes when serving alcohol, they could very well contribute to someone getting hurt later.

There are two kinds of liquor service violations that may lead to crash liability for the business. If the staff at a business provides alcohol to someone under the age of 21, the business could be responsible if that minor goes on to cause a crash. Under Washington’s dram shop laws, the illegal service of alcohol to a minor could make the business liable for any crashes that occur later.

The law also passes liability to a bar or restaurant that serves someone already showing clear signs of chemical intoxication. Those working in the hospitality industry sometimes knowingly violate these rules because they want the biggest tips possible. Unfortunately, overserving adults or serving minors can lead to tragic outcomes.

If someone improperly served at a business goes on to cause a crash, the people affected by the wreck may have grounds for a dram shop claim against the business. There may be insurance coverage that can reimburse the people affected, or they may need to pursue a lawsuit against the business in some cases. The business’s coverage and resources will often be able to cover more of the affected party’s costs than the assets and insurance of the drunk driver alone.

Looking into all of your options and compensation can help you cover the costs of a recent drunk driving crash.