It varies on the facts of the case, but generally, the driver could be sued for negligence. If the driver was served alcohol by another before getting behind the wheel, that party might also be sued. The number of defendants depends on how many people may have made mistakes that lead to the accident.
The Driver Can Be Sued By An Attorney For Driving Drunk
Under Kentucky law, it’s illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol. To be considered intoxicated, a certain percentage of the person’s blood needs to be alcohol. To be impaired, it can be any level, as long as it impacts the ability to drive. Kentucky laws also cover driving impairment caused by substances (like legal and illegal drugs) other than alcohol.
Most accident claims are based on negligence. It would have to be shown the driver was negligent (did or didn’t do something, making a very serious mistake) that caused the accident. That could be running a red light, speeding, going too fast for conditions, and or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A court judgment could be paid by the driver’s insurance carrier and possibly from his or her own assets. If your injuries are serious enough, you may suffer long term disabilities, pain, suffering, and lost income for an extended time. Depending on the policy’s limits and exclusions, the amount from insurance may not cover your damages.
Who Served Alcohol to the Driver?
In all accident cases, Tyler’s investigation is not just to learn how and why it happened, but to discover other parties who may be responsible. The more there are, the more insurance policies there may be to cover the costs of an accident, the more likely a full recovery is possible.
Kentucky has a “dram shop” law, which may extend liability to a party with a liquor license (like a restaurant, bar, or catering hall) that served the intoxicated driver before the accident. For the law to apply, it would need to be proven that:
- The intoxicated driver was under the legal drinking age of 21, or
- The driver was older than 21, and when he or she was served, a “reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances should (have known) that the person served (was) already intoxicated,” or
- The party caused or contributed to drinking alcoholic beverages by force or by falsely claiming a beverage didn’t contain alcohol
In most lawsuits involving a drunk driver of legal age and the “dram shop” law, it comes down to the facts surrounding the driver’s drinking. Was the party serving alcohol on notice the customer was drunk? Slurring words? Having a tough time sitting up or walking? Being loud, obnoxious, or violent? Should a reasonable person in the situation have known the customer was intoxicated?
If an individual or family served alcohol to the driver in someone’s home or at a social gathering, the “dram shop” law doesn’t apply. However, if the drunk driver is younger than the legal drinking age, since serving alcohol to minors is a crime, the host could potentially be sued for his or her actions.
Take the Next Step And Call A Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one are injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, call The Fleck Firm at (270) 446-7000 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We’ll talk about the accident, your injuries, the law, and your best options to proceed. Insurance companies have lawyers. You should have one too.