Drinking and driving is one of the leading causes of fatal car accidents. People are injured and killed by someone driving under the influence every day. You can sue them to recover damages if you or a loved one have been injured by a drunk driver. However, that may not be sufficient. In some cases, third parties can be held responsible when a drunk driver goes out and hurts someone.
The Ohio ‘Dram Shop’ Law
Ohio has “dram shop” laws. Ohio Rev. Code 4399.18 allows victims of drunk driving accidents to sue bars and restaurants for providing alcohol to a noticeably intoxicated person.
That doesn’t mean that you can just sue anyone who has provided alcohol over the course of that day or evening, of course. There are specific circumstances where this law applies.
You can sue the alcohol provider in two specific cases: first, the injuries happened on the vendor’s property and they were negligent, or the injuries happened elsewhere, but the vendor knowingly sold alcohol to a noticeably intoxicated person (and/or someone under 21).
If you want to pursue a claim against the third party, you’ll need to prove that the alcohol provider knew or should have known that the person was drunk or under 21, but kept serving them alcohol anyway. Since bartenders and servers are trained to recognize intoxicated people and fake IDs, they’re responsible for cutting a patron off when they’ve had too much or appear under 21.
Social Host Laws
What happens if the drunk driver came from a house party? Ohio’s social host laws allow you to sue a host that serves alcohol to someone under 21. If the underage driver then gets in a car and hits someone, the party host may be held responsible.
Note that this doesn’t apply to people over 21. In that case, the driver is the only person you can sue. Ohio puts the responsibility on the driver to know better.
Who Should I Sue?
Depending on the specific circumstances of your accident, you may be able to sue the driver, the social host, and/or the dram shop. In some cases, this can be an uphill battle—it can be difficult to prove that the alcohol provider knew or should have known someone was intoxicated or under 21. Since drunk driving accidents are so devastating, you’ll probably want to recover damages from as many responsible parties as possible.
Contact an Ohio Personal Injury Attorney Today
When you’ve been injured in a drunk driving accident, you may be able to recover compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering and more. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at 877.944.4373 today for more information.