In drunk driving cases, the primary defendant is the drunk driver. And, in most drunk driving cases, the criminal case against the drunk driver is brought first. Experienced Hartford drunk driver lawyers work with the police and use the evidence the police have to hold the drunk driver liable for the injuries they caused to others.
If you’re lucky, the drunk driver has enough insurance to pay for your medical bills, your lost income, and any damage to your vehicle. If they don’t have any liability insurance or don’t have enough to pay your full claim, you can generally file a UM/UIM claim with your own insurance company. If you have collision insurance, you should file a claim with your collision carrier.
If the car involved in the accident was owned by someone other than the drunk driver, then the owner of the car may also be liable if they gave the drunk driver permission to use their vehicle.
Dram shop liability and social host liability in Connecticut
Connecticut General Statutes Section 30-102 provides that a vendor who sells alcohol to someone who is intoxicated can be held liable for any accident that person causes to another individual. There are some conditions that apply:
- The amount of the damages that can be awarded, in total, is $250,000. This cap only applies to the person who served the alcohol. There is no cap on the damages the drunk driver should pay.
- The victim must give formal written notice to the vendor within 120 days from the date the injuries occurred – typically the date of the accident.
- The date for giving written notice is extended to 180 days if anyone died as a result of the drunk driving accident.
- The person who consumed the drink and caused the accident must be under 21. The dram shop law does not provide coverage if the intoxicated person was 21 or older.
- The time limit for filing the claim against the vendor is one year.
The dram shop law applies to sellers of alcohol.
The dram shop law has been interpreted by the Connecticut Supreme Court to apply to social hosts who serve a minor, meaning someone under 21 who then causes an accident with injuries due to their intoxication. To hold the social host liable, the minor must have been visibly intoxicated when the liquor was served or sold.
The Connecticut dram shop law generally does not apply to social hosts who serve adults over the age of 21. However, social hosts may also be criminally liable for knowingly serving alcohol to minors.
These types of cases can be tricky. For example, a Hartford drunk driving lawyer can explain complexities like whether or not “serving” includes scenarios where guests serve themselves from a punch bowl that contains alcohol.
Our attorneys understand that many drunk driving cases are fatal. We compassionately work with families who have lost a loved one due to driver intoxication by filing wrongful death claims on their behalf. We work with survivors who suffer any type of injury.
Our work includes filing claims against all responsible parties, working to hold all wrongdoers accountable, and obtaining the just compensation you deserve. We also work with your own insurance carriers when necessary. To speak with a strong advocate, call the Hartford drunk driving lawyers at Barry, Barall, & Spinella, LLC at 860-649-4400 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.