Tacoma Drunk Driving Lawyer

It’s clear: a drunk driver is responsible when they injure you. But in Tacoma, you can also potentially file a claim against the bar or restaurant that sold alcohol to the intoxicated driver. This is possible because of what’s known as dram shop laws. However, bringing a lawsuit against a bar can be challenging. For this reason, we recommend that you reach out to a Tacoma drunk driving lawyer from our team.

What are Dram Shop Laws?

Dram shop laws help hold commercial sellers and servers of alcohol responsible. Under Washington State law, a bar or restaurant cannot sell alcohol:

  • To a minor
  • Without checking ID
  • After hours
  • Without a License
  • To someone showing signs of intoxication

If a place of business violates any of the above laws and the intoxicated person gets injured or injures someone else, that business can be liable.

To illustrate, here are a few hypothetical scenarios:

  • ABC Bar sells alcohol to Jim, an already-intoxicated patron. Jim drives away, striking and injuring Sally as she’s walking across the road. Sally can file a claim against Jim’s insurance policy and ABC Bar for over-selling alcohol which resulted Jim injuring her.
  • XYZ Restaurant fails to check Cindy’s ID and sells her a few drinks. Cindy is underage. After becoming intoxicated, Cindy walks through the restaurant’s glass door. She’s taken to the hospital with extensive cuts. The restaurant could be liable for selling to a minor, which resulted in her getting injured.
  • Lucky Casino serves alcohol to Harry, who’s had too much to drink already. Harry starts a fight with another patron, Dave. Dave ends up at the hospital with severe injuries. Dave files a suit against Harry and the Casino, for over-serving.

Now, whether these hypothetical businesses will be held liable will depend on the facts of the case and the work of a skilled attorney. (See our blog post about when you can sue a bar for drunk driving for more information.)

Am I Eligible to File a Dram Shop Lawsuit

The only way to know for certain if you have a case is to call one of our attorneys today at Ladenburg Law. Make no mistake: a dram shop lawsuit is complex. Our attorneys are experienced in this area of the law and will be able to determine who can be held liable for your injuries.

If you have a case, some of the pieces of the puzzle we’ll want to look at include:

  • How much did the driver have to drink?
  • Where did the driver get alcohol? Did he/she visit one bar, or was he/she bar hopping?
  • When/where did the over-serving occur?
  • Does the bar have a known track record of over-serving alcohol and/or selling to minors? Do they have a license to serve alcohol at all?

One of the most important parts of our job is to reconstruct the events leading up to the injury. Some useful evidence for our timeline may include receipts, video surveillance, witness testimony, police reports, and cell phone records. More and more, a quick visit to the defendant’s social media pages may prove helpful, too. It’s not uncommon to find posts or check-ins about their night on Facebook or Instagram.

Rest assured, it’s our job to collect the necessary evidence. We’ll focus on building your case so you can focus on healing from your injury.

Who’s Liable to Pay for My Injuries?

If you’ve been hurt by a drunk driver or intoxicated person, we will help you file a claim against their insurance policy. (Or, your own policy if the driver didn’t carry insurance.)

But if it turns out that dram shop laws apply, we’ll also help you seek compensation against the company that over-served the defendant. In some cases, this may be more than one bar or restaurant, too.

After evaluating your case, we’ll work to identify liable parties. As your personal injury lawyer, we want to ensure that you’re entitled to receive compensation from any and all responsible parties.

What Kind of Compensation can I Receive as a Victim of a Drunk Driver?

Here are some of the damages we will fight to recover:

  • Medical expenses (both current and anticipated)
  • Lost wages (including missed overtime and bonus opportunities)
  • Out-of-pocket expenses related to your accident
  • Pain and suffering
  • Funeral expenses

When we meet, we’ll help assess your damages. Some of these are tangible, such as a hospital bill or a missed, non-refundable vacation. Others are harder to put a price tag on, like permanent disfigurement or an amputation. However, all these damages deserve compensation.

Why Hire a Tacoma Dram Shop Attorney?

Dram shop lawsuits are complex and need expert evidence-gathering. You can expect that businesses will have legal representation, so we don’t recommend you go it alone. We have extensive experience with this area of the law and a proven track record of winning meaningful compensation for our clients. To schedule a free consultation with a Tacoma drunk driving lawyer from our team, please contact us.

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