Sadly, there are numerous individuals and families in Alabama who became victims to impaired drivers. Drunk driving accidents occur rather frequently, especially around the holidays. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in such an accident, you may have legal recourse. This column will address who may be responsible for any losses you have suffered.
After a drunk driving accident occurs, the victim, victims or -- in the event of fatality -- surviving family members will experience a number of losses. It does not matter if they are economic or noneconomic in nature; they can be devastating. Civil claims may be filed against the driver deemed responsible in an effort to seek compensation for any damages sustained.
According to the state of Alabama, establishments that serve or sell alcohol could also face charges if their patrons cause DUI-related auto accidents. This is something known as dram shop laws. In order for dram shop claims to be successful, you and your legal counsel will have to provide certain information to the court. This information might include:
- Proof of alcohol sale to the responsible driver
- Proof that the sale of alcohol directly contributed to the driver's intoxication
- Proof of intoxication
- Proof of injuries or deaths related to the accident
At the end of the day, establishments have a responsibility to the general public to ensure that selling alcohol to their patrons will not cause a threat to public safety. If the evidence determines that establishments were negligent in this responsibility, they may have to pay damages to victims.
Seeking compensation for your losses
The type of legal actions victims may take following drunk driving accidents will depend on their specific circumstances. Potential claims include personal injury, wrongful death actions and dram shop claims. An experienced attorney can help you determine which claims may apply to your individual case.
While proving fault in drunk driving accidents may be somewhat difficult, it is possible. Through successful litigation in an Alabama civil court, you may achieve compensation for any damages the state deems as legally recoverable, such as medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost wages and benefits, and various other monetary, physical and psychological damages as well.