You have just gotten off work. It has been a long day. You are tired and your feet hurt. You would like nothing better than to get home, prop your feet up, and relax. Heading south on Memorial Parkway in Huntsville, Alabama, you take the Martin/Vermont Roads exit. As you are heading down the exit ramp, there is a car barreling straight at you. There is no escape. The ensuing crash is life altering. You will never walk again. You are lucky to be alive. You are the victim of a wreck caused by a drunk driver. Not surprisingly, the other driver has no insurance. What can you do? What should you do?
Part 1 – Alabama’s Dram Shop Act (an overview)
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 10,000 people die each year in alcohol-related car wrecks. Thus, someone is killed by a drunk driver every 52 minutes. That is, on average, 28 people per day. Drinking and driving is a serious problem.
Alcohol is a controlled substance, much like any prescription drug. For a business to legally sell alcohol it must maintain the proper licenses and abide by all applicable laws, or risk losing its license, being fined, and even being sued or prosecuted for a crime. Unfortunately, this typically occurs only after someone has already been injured or killed.
In Alabama, the primary law that protects individuals who have been injured due to the illegal sale of alcohol is the Dram Shop Act. Common examples are serving a visibly intoxicated adult customer and selling alcohol to a minor, who then injures someone in a car wreck.
The purpose of Alabama’s Dram Shop Act is to hold a business liable for providing alcohol to someone “in violation of the law.” For instance, if a convenience store sells alcohol to a visibly intoxicated customer, who later injures or kills someone, the store may be responsible for the resulting injuries or death. In most all instances, this involves the drunk customer driving an automobile and later getting involved in a wreck. The injured individual is thus attempting to hold the business that sold the alcohol liable for the injuries caused by the drunk driver/customer.
If you or a loved one has been injured by an intoxicated driver, a restaurant or store may be liable for your resulting injuries. At The Ryder Law Firm we have been assisting the victims of alcohol-related injuries for over 20 years. Contact us today. We care and we will help!