Dram Shop Lawyers Kentucky
Holding All Parties Accountable For Drunk Driving Accidents
If a drunk driver injured you, you have the right to pursue compensation from that driver. Depending on the circumstances, you may also have a claim against the owner of the establishment that served the driver alcohol. This is known as a dram shop liability claim. It can significantly increase your ability to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Satterley & Kelley PLLC attorneys are strong advocates for people who have suffered due to the negligence of others. We are well versed in Kentucky dram shop liability laws and can provide you with the skilled, aggressive personal injury representation you need.
What is Kentucky’s Dram Shop Law?
Kentucky Revised Statutes section 413.241, the state’s dram shop law, states:
“The General Assembly finds and declares that the consumption of intoxicating
beverages, rather than the serving, furnishing, or sale of such beverages, is the proximate cause of any injury, including death and property damage, inflicted by an intoxicated person upon himself or another person…The intoxicated person shall be primarily liable with respect to injuries suffered by third persons.”
The legislature wants the primary blame on the person drinking too much and causing an injury or death. This limitation doesn’t apply if the person served isn’t of legal age.
The law also states that those holding liquor licenses and those who work for them aren’t liable for injuries or deaths “unless a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances should know that the person served is already intoxicated at the time of serving.”
What Must a Plaintiff Prove to be Successful?
Kentucky law also states that those holding liquor licenses and those who work for them aren’t liable for injuries or deaths “unless a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances should know that the person served is already intoxicated at the time of serving.”
Therefore, to recover from the Dram Shop, the Plaintiff must prove that the employees at the bar knew or should have known they were serving alcohol to someone who was already intoxicated.
How Would Someone Show Signs of Intoxication?
The Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission (OLCC) lists 50 signs a person could be intoxicated. Showing just one or two doesn’t necessarily mean the person is drunk, according to the OLCC. But if the person shows several signs or their behavior suddenly changes, that could be a “strong indication” the person is intoxicated. That may be caused by legal or illegal drugs, drinking alcohol, or a combination.
Some of the signs include:
- Bloodshot or watery eyes
- Flushed face
- Blank stare
- Body tremors
- Disheveled clothing
- Slurred speech
- Speaking loudly then quietly, quickly or slowly
- Rambling train of thought
- Slowly responding to questions or comments
- Repetitive, boastful, or irrational statements
- Being annoying, argumentative, aggressive, belligerent, obnoxious, or mean
- Inappropriate sexual advances or being overly friendly
- Swaying, staggering, stumbling, or unable to sit straight
- Careless with money and difficulty making change
- Restless, depressed, or sullen
- Crying or moody
- Extreme or sudden changes in behavior
- Being overly animated or entertaining
- Crude, inappropriate speech or gestures
- Drowsiness or falling asleep
- Lack of focus and eye contact
- Unusual walk
- Falling or falling off of a chair, being clumsy, spilling drinks
- Difficulty remembering
- Disoriented, agitated, or anxious
- Smells like alcohol, marijuana, or chemicals
Ideally, the plaintiff may admit to being intoxicated and showing these signs. There could also be testimony from witnesses and video from security cameras.
How Do You Build a Dram Shop Case?
We leave no stone unturned in investigating the facts of a shop liability case. We need to find out:
- Was the at-fault driver visibly intoxicated such that a server or bar manager should have noticed?
- Did the driver’s intoxication cause the accident?
- Is there a direct link between the alcohol served at the establishment and the accident?
How do we find out essential facts? Before and after we file a lawsuit, we:
- Go over police reports and contact listed witnesses
- Research whether the establishment has been sued before or cited for liquor law violations to see if they have a pattern of serving intoxicated patrons
- Obtain the establishment’s security video and names of any employees on duty at the time in question
- Get copies of any documents showing how many drinks the person had
- Depose (ask questions under oath) the person causing the accident and ask what the person drank, how they talked and behaved. We would also ask employees what the person drank, how they talked and acted
- Hire an expert to establish what signs of intoxication a person may show and, given the evidence, how the person showed them to establishment employees
For victims of drunk driving collisions, it’s important to pursue every available avenue of compensation. Your hardships and expenses could last far into the future. Our lawyers employ a thorough approach to every case we handle and will fight for everything you deserve.
What Damages are Available in a Dram Shop Case?
You have no case if you have no damages (harm suffered due to the accident measured in dollars). The court would dismiss it, and there would be no point in filing a claim with an insurance company.
We need to prove you have damages, just like we need to prove you were injured by the intoxicated driver who was visibly drunk at the defendant’s establishment. If we’re successful, and the jury agrees with our damages evidence, you may receive:
- Compensatory damages: They reimburse you for losses, whether they’re economic (lost wages or damage to your car) or non-economic (pain and suffering)
- Punitive damages: These are rarely awarded but are appropriate in cases where the defendant intentionally hurt others or was reckless. These damages don’t compensate you for losses. They punish the defendant to discourage it, and others, from acting similarly in the future
Damages for pain and suffering are subjective. They’re based on what you feel and how your life’s been affected. Kentucky doesn’t have a limit on pain and suffering damages, though there are Constitutional limits on how much punitive damages may be awarded.
You may suffer long-term mental pain and suffering after an accident. You may have depression, are anxious, and be unable to sleep. You may feel angry or hurt for no apparent reason. You may go through post-traumatic stress disorder or something like it. These issues may be so severe you can’t work or function as part of your family.
When Must I File a Dram Shop Case?
A dram shop claim in Kentucky must be filed in court within one year of the date of the injury. However, because each situation is unique, you should always consult with an attorney as soon as possible after suffering an injury to protect your rights.
Speak With An Experienced Personal Injury and Dram Shop Lawyer
Our attorneys have decades of experience handling motor vehicle accident claims and can help you with this critical legal matter. To discuss your dram shop liability claim with a knowledgeable attorney in Louisville, contact our law offices online or by telephone at 855-385-9532.