Tis the season to celebrate! Unfortunately, some people celebrate a little too much before getting behind the wheel of their vehicle to drive home. DUI incidents increase dramatically during the holiday season from the day before Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Day. DUI cases increase by 31 percent during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. On Christmas Eve, drunk driving incidents increase by 48 percent. New Year’s Eve has the most substantial increase in impaired driving violations increasing by 106 percent.
When someone is injured in a drunk driving accident, including a passenger in the vehicle driven by the drunk driver, that person has the legal right to receive compensation for injuries. However, simply proving the driver was intoxicated in not enough. You must prove the drunk driver caused the crash and you sustained injuries because of the crash.
Who Is Responsible for Damages in A Drunk Driving Accident?
In a drunk driving accident, the driver who was impaired by alcohol is liable for damages if he or she causes an accident that results in injuries. However, the driver may not be the only liable party for damages resulting from a DUI accident. In some cases, a host could be held labile for damages if the driver was the guest at the party and became intoxicated at the party.
Indiana’s Dram Shop Laws state that a person who “furnishes” alcoholic beverages to another person may be held liable for damages if:
- The person furnishing the alcohol knew the person who consumed the alcohol was visibly intoxicated at the time the alcoholic beverage was furnished
- The intoxication of that person resulted in the death or injury of another person.
In other words, if you serve alcohol at your holiday party, a guest becomes intoxicated, you see the guest is intoxicated and allow him to continue drinking, and that person causes a car crash on the way home, you can be held liable for damages. The key is the definition of “furnish” contained in the statute.
The statute defines “furnish” to include “barter, deliver, sell, exchange, provide, or give away.” Therefore, Indiana courts have held that hosts may be held liable if they provide alcohol at their parties and a guest causes a car crash after leaving the party. A critical element is proving the host knew the person was visibly intoxicated but allowed the person to continue drinking. An experienced Bloomington car accident lawyer can help uncover evidence to prove this key element and the other elements necessary to hold a host responsible for damages in a drunk driving accident.
Party hosts need to be aware of Indiana’s Dram Shop Laws and take precautions to protect themselves from being held liable for damages in a drunk driving accident. Some helpful tips for party hosts include:
- Provide plenty of non-alcoholic beverage choices
- Hire a bartender for the evening who can help keep an eye on guests
- Invites guests to stay at your home for the evening
- Have the number for several cab companies visible and a phone available
- Push food – alcohol on an empty stomach is never a good idea
- Have several designated drivers available to take guests home
- Use small glasses to serve alcohol – don’t sever shots of alcohol, only serve mixed drinks
- Stop severing alcohol one to two hours before the party ends
The best tip for hosts is to avoid drinking alcohol themselves. You need to be alert and monitor your guests for any problems. Don’t be afraid to take someone’s keys and call a cab.
Call A Bloomington Car Accident Lawyer for More Information
If a drunk driver has injured you, you need an experienced Bloomington car accident lawyer on your side as soon as possible. You have a limited time to file a car accident lawsuit and we need as much time as possible to investigate the accident to prepare a strong case. We want to hold everyone responsible for your injuries liable for your damages to increase your chance of receiving the maximum compensation allowed by law.
For a free legal consultation and case evaluation, contact The Ken Nunn Law Office by calling 1-800-CALL-KEN or 1-800-225-5536. You can also get more information by chatting with a representative on our website through our Live Chat feature. Schedule your free consultation with a Bloomington car accident lawyer today to protect your legal right to seek justice from the drunk driver and other parties who are responsible for your injuries.