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What are common defenses to Dram Shop lawsuits

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2023 | Insurance Defense News

There are many different places that people can consume alcohol in Colorado and there are times that people consume too much alcohol. People do not always make the best choices when they are intoxicated. One of the worst choices they can make is to drive their vehicles. People do this and some cause accidents, which, in turn, can cause significant damage and injuries.

The victims of the accident can certainly initiate lawsuits against the driver for the damages they caused. However, if the driver does not have insurance or limits that do not cover all of the damages, it will be difficult to recover compensation. The victims may look to start a lawsuit against the establishment that served the driver alcohol. These are known as Dram Shop cases.

The main issues that arise in Dram Shop cases

In order to be successful, the victim needs to prove certain elements and the place that served the alcohol has defenses. The major issues that will determine whether a business is responsible are:

  • Whether the driver was visibly intoxicated.
  • How many drinks the bartender served the driver and in what span of time. The height and weight of the driver and whether a person of that size would typically be intoxicated based on the number of drinks served to them.
  • Did the driver consume alcohol in other places than just the place that served them last?
  • They will also need to establish that the driver was the only one at fault for the accident.
  • The victims will also need to prove the full extent of their injuries.

Many businesses serve alcohol as a major part of their business. While they cannot control all of the actions of the people they serve, they can control the number of drinks they serve to clearly intoxicated people. They could be liable if they knowingly served clearly intoxicated people and they caused an accident on their way home.

It is important for businesses in Colorado to have strong defenses and consulting with experienced attorneys may be beneficial.