What Does Someone Need To Prove In A Dram Shop Case?
We need to have some proof that the individual was drinking at this establishment and that an illegal sale of alcohol occurred. The New York’s alcohol and beverage and control laws make it illegal to serve it to an underage person or to serve to somebody who is already visibly intoxicated. Basically you need to be able to establish that there was an illegal sale of alcohol by a commercial establishment that contributed to a motor vehicle accident, which results in either personal injury or death.
Those are the basics that need to be proven. Typically they are proven by obtaining the criminal records pursuant to the driving while intoxicated investigation report including the blood alcohol content results, and any available photos, and witness statements. If you can establish that it was likely that an individual was displaying obvious signs of intoxication, you can prove that the bar committed an illegal sale of alcohol.
Are Dram Shop Cases Easy To Prove?Dram shop cases are not easy to prove. You need an experienced personal injury attorney who has handled dram shop cases before. It is not incredibly difficult to prove if you know what to do and how to gather the evidence that is necessary for the case.
What Are The Biggest Challenges To Your Clients In Dram Shop Cases?The most difficult challenges in a car accident are the situation where our client was the driver and they were struck by another vehicle and the driver of the other car was arrested. This invokes the 5th amendment privilege. Initially, we do not always know where the individual was coming from to cause their excessive inebriation status. Sometimes, they made a statement to the police during their arrest that they were in such and such bar, but usually that requires a number of steps for us by taking a deposition and sealing after the criminal case has resolved and to be able to find out where an individual was coming from and to.
Can Contributory or Comparative Negligence Hurt Someone’s Claim in an Alcohol Related Accident?If the person was comparatively negligent in the sense that they were drinking with the person and actually supplied them the alcohol, that certainly does affect the case. It definitely could affect the settlement value when it becomes an issue of fact as to whether they contributed to the person’s intoxication or not. Typically a DWI is what they call negligence for sake of the violation of a state in criminal statute and quite often there is a criminal conviction to follow. We can usually obtain a summary judgment based on the criminal conviction alone.
Why Are Immediate Investigations Important In These Cases?Immediate investigations are very important. Certainly getting photographs of the vehicles before they are destroyed by the salvage or an insurance company is important, because it tends to show the severity of the impact. Obtaining witness statements early on before people forget is always important; getting hold of the criminal records as soon as possible to try and figure out where the individual was drinking is also imperative.
Another important factor is to try and figure out whom else was present at the bar and the location. Where was the person drinking so we can establish what their physical condition was at that time? For example, if an individual was drinking in a bar with some of his friends, then we can request a friend’s deposition to find out or confirm how the person was acting, what signs they were showing, were they slurring their speech, and were they getting loud. These are all known indicators to a reasonably well-trained bartender that an individual is experiencing or undergoing the effects of intoxication and should not be served further.
Get Information on Proving a Dram Shop Case or call the Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC for a FREE Initial Consultation at (914) 574-8330 and get the legal answers you are seeking.