Drunk drivers put pedestrians and other motorists at considerable risk of injury. While victims of damage by intoxicated drivers are able to recover compensation for the damages sustained from the insurance carriers of the drivers, some states hold liquor stores, bars, and individuals who serve alcohol to intoxicated drivers as accessories. They are, thereby, also responsible for any accident caused when an intoxicated invdividual leaves an establishment or home.
Liability of Establishments Which Provide Alcohol
In some states, establishments which serve/furnish alcohol are held responsible for damages and injuries which result, if they knew that the individuals to whom they served/furnished alcohol were intoxicated visibly when the alcohol was served to them. This statue extends to homes and other places where social gatherings take place and is not limited only to liquor stores and bars.
It is not easy to prove that patrons at bars and liquor stores, or at assemblies and social gatherings, were intoxicated when liquor was served to them; or that those who did the serving were aware that the person concerned was intoxicated at the time. Nonetheless this statute holds accountable those who served guests and customers alcohol, and imposes a particular responsibility on them.
The key to avoid falling foul of this statute is to be attentive and responsible. If you run an establishment which serves alcohol to your patrons, you should train your employees to be able to recognize such situations where a patron might have had one drink too many, and be able to handle the situation tactfully. Or knowing when to ask for help; this type of training may just save a life.
Take Their Keys if You Have Too
This also applies to hosts who serve alcohol in their homes to guests. According to the statute, you are responsible for the behavior of your guests. If you feel someone has reached their limit, you should not hesitate to suggest that they move to a non-alcoholic beverage instead, and ensure that they have a safe means of returning home rather than getting behind a wheel. Their pride is secondary.