The Idaho Dram Shop Liability Guide was created by Hepworth Holzer to help residents obtain maximum compensation for their claim.
Dram Shop Claims
When someone is hurt in an accident because of the alcohol that was served at a bar or a restaurant, the “dram shop,” as they are called, can be deemed liable for the harm that happened.
Back in 2015, there were over 10,000 cases of fatal auto accidents involving a drunk driver. They happened at a rate of one per 51 minutes. That same year, there were 290,000 drunk driving accidents where there were injured victims. Approximately one third of every single fatal auto accident in the country in 2015 is because of drunk drivers. More than half of the drunk drivers had a BAC at or above .15 and in comparison the legal limit is .08 BAC.
Dram Shop Liability makes the serving and consuming of alcohol a shared responsibility between the bar or restaurant and the driver. To clarify, if someone went to a bar, was over-served but then decided to drive their car home and got into an accident and seriously hurt someone, both the bar and the driver would be deemed responsible for the victim’s damages. Bars and restaurants are supposed to serve alcohol in a reasonable manner. They are not supposed to over-serve someone.
If you have been seriously hurt by a drunk driver who may have been irresponsibly served by a bar or restaurant, then you may be eligible to get compensation. Reach out to our Boise dram shop liability attorneys as soon as possible.
Rules Regarding Liquor License
Any establishment that has a liquor license has rules to follow, which are meant to ensure that they serve alcohol in a way that is responsible. The rules are as follow:
- You should not serve alcohol to a patron you can see or should be able to see is intoxicated.
- If you see a patron who is intoxicated, you must cut them off from being served alcohol and get them a ride home.
- You cannot serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.
If these rules are broken, people can get seriously hurt. People with lowered inhibition make bad choices like driving their car drunk, which results in them getting in a serious accident and hurting innocent people.
If you are an injured party who was harmed by someone who was served by an establishment who did not follow the rules of their liquor license, you deserve to seek justice. Our Boise dram shop liability attorneys will bring a claim against the responsible parties.
Hosting Guests with Alcoholic Beverages
Not every drunk driver is coming from a bar or a restaurant. If you were harmed by a driver coming from a social gathering, there is still some legal protection for you that allows you to bring a claim.
Social hosts are not held quite to the standard and rules that bars or restaurants are, they are still required to be responsible when serving alcohol to their guests. It is also harder for them to regulate the consumption of alcohol by minors. They will be responsible for any harm their guests cause to people like you who get hurt in drunk driving auto accidents.
If you were hurt due to the negligence of a bar/restaurant/social host or a drunk driver, you are entitled to financial compensation. This is going to be a civil law case. You are due compensation.
Our Boise dram shop liability attorneys will fight tirelessly to get you the results you deserve and get you the compensation for:
- damages to your property (typically your vehicle)
- loss of quality of life
- your medical bills both past, present and future
- your pain and suffering
- loss of earnings and earning capacity
You need to act quickly so our Boise dram shop liability attorneys can gather evidence for you and help you build a strong case. You need to reach out as soon as possible to get the ball rolling on your case. You are under a statute of limitations, which means if you wait too long, you won’t be able to get compensation at all.
Special Rules For Suing a Bar
If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver on the roads of Idaho, you may also have a claim against the bar that served that drunk driver. Idaho has adopted a statute called Idaho 23-808, the dram shop statute. There are special rules that apply under the dram shop statute that allow you to pursue the bar when it’s engaged in inappropriate behavior.
What inappropriate behaviors fall under that statute? Serving a minor is one. If that drunk driver was a minor served at a bar, you have a claim against the bar, for example. The primary one involves serving a person who is obviously intoxicated. There can be some difficulty, actually, in understanding when someone is obviously intoxicated. That can mean, as we all understand, slurring and stumbling and being really drunk but if a bar serves a volume of alcohol to this person and that person is an experienced drinker, that may also result in somebody being obviously intoxicated and establish liability on behalf of the bar. It’s important that you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries caused by the collision with the drunk driver in Idaho, and we want to help you evaluate what to do.
There is a real problem with the statute, however. That problem is you only have 180 days from the day that the collision happened and the drunk hurt you to make sure that you put the bar on notice of your claim against it for its actions in serving the drunk. This can be a problem because, if that drunk has been charged criminally, they often will not want to identify where they were and their lawyer won’t let them talk to you. There’s no way around that unless you have a lawyer helping you who can use levels of persuasion with the appropriate people to identify where that person had been.
It’s very important, under Idaho law, if you’ve been injured by a drunk driver in a collision in Idaho, to get a lawyer involved in your injury claim sooner rather than later. That quick time frame— 180 days— can pass without you being able to identify the bar where the drunk was served. Give us a call. We’ll be happy to talk to you about your claim and your situation to help you decide what’s the right thing for you to do in moving forward and getting full and fair compensation for your losses.
Drunk Driver Investigation
One of the most frustrating issues in a claim involving a drunk driver who has caused a collision in Idaho is often figuring out where that driver consumed the alcohol. Idaho law allows a claim against a bar (called a dram shop, under the law) that over-serves a driver who goes out and injures somebody on the roadway. They also allow a claim like that against a social host, a private person who provided that alcohol. The question arises of where it was and how to figure it out. The person who knows that is the drunk. If that drunk is being prosecuted for the drunk driving collision in Idaho that hurt you, they’re not going to tell you. You need to have somebody involved in your case early who can use some persuasive tools and is hopefully working with the lawyers for the drunk driver to find out that information.
Why is all this so important? It’s important because you only have 180 days, from the day that the injury occurs, to put the dram shop or the social host on notice that you intend to pursue a claim against them for their actions in over-serving the drunk that hurt you on the roads of Idaho. Finding that out can be a very significant matter in making sure that you get full, fair, and complete compensation for losses imposed on you by this drunk driver in this collision. This can be a very difficult process, and the sooner the process starts, the better. I encourage you to give us a call as soon as possible so we can make sure that we can protect this aspect of your claim against the bar.
Choosing a Lawyer For a Drunk Driver Accident
If you’ve been injured in a collision with a drunk driver in Idaho, you want to choose the lawyer who will take care of you the best. How do you know who that is?
There are a number of things you can do when you’re trying to evaluate the right lawyer for your claim against a drunk driver. One of the things you want to do is look at that lawyer’s background. Are they real trial lawyers or do they just claim to be personal injury lawyers but have no trial experience? Do they have verdicts that have been rendered by a jury that show that they have done a great job representing their clients? Do they have appropriate accolades from inside the profession? Have other lawyers acknowledged them and invited them to organizations, like the Inner Circle or the American College of Trial Lawyers, and said they’re somebody whose skills are high and recognized within the profession? Do they have reviews online from real clients who have had real experiences with those folks and provided the appropriate amount of care to people who they’ve chosen and agreed to represent? It’s an evaluative process.
The last step in that evaluative process is to talk to the lawyer about your injury case against the drunk driver in Idaho. Are you comfortable with that lawyer? Is that somebody with you can have an ongoing long-term relationship, who is committed to your best interests, and who understands that you deserve full and fair compensation for all the losses that this drunk has imposed upon you? You start that process by evaluating people’s backgrounds and resumes and finish that process of choosing your lawyer by talking to the lawyers. Give us a call. We’re happy to talk to you and sit down and meet with you so you can understand whether or not we’re the right attorneys to take care of you.
Holding a Bar Responsible
There can be liability that is imposed upon a commercial enterprise that serves alcohol and lets a drunk driver out on the road. Holding that bar or restaurant responsible for their actions is a difficult task. Idaho law doesn’t make it easy to impose liability on a bar, but it does make it possible. There’s no way to do it without having a good quality trial attorney involved in your claim against the bar who let the drunk driver out on the road to cause damages. You want an attorney who knows what to investigate and how to investigate and understands the special time frames that apply under the law that allow you to hold that drunk driver and their bar responsible for the damages they’ve imposed on you.
We’re here to help you. We’re here to help you evaluate your case and pursue your dram shop claim. It’s an area we have experience in — we have taken cases to the Idaho Supreme Court on this issue. Give us a call and we can talk to you about your situation and help you make the right decision for yourself.
Dram Shop Lawsuit Timeline
When folks walk in to talk to us about their potential lawsuit against a drunk driver who caused a collision that injured them in Idaho, one of the important questions they ask is how long it’s going to take. It’s a natural question, and the answer to that is it depends. It depends on a number of things about the case. It depends on the scope of the damages that the drunk driver in this collision in Idaho caused you, for one. It also depends on the amount of insurance or assets that person has available. Finally, it depends on whether or not there is an addition to the claim against the drunk driver— for example, if there’s a claim against a social host or a dram shop, a commercial seller of alcohol, who sent the driver out on the road, obviously intoxicated. Each of these things is an important part of the evaluation about how long the case will take.
Of course, your damages component is another big piece of it. What actually happened to you? What medical care do you need? How long is your medical care going to take? What are your future medical needs? All those things have to be evaluated. If the damages are small, the case can end relatively quickly. If the damages are complex and large, and there’s a claim that has to be proven under Idaho’s dram shop statute against a bar or a social host, the case can actually take quite a while.
These are things that are very fact-specific involved, as well. What actually happened in your case? What exactly is going on, who the defendants are and how they’re operating, all those things are going to come into play in determining the length of time for any case against a drunk driver in Idaho or any case against a bar in Idaho. The best answer to figure out what’s going to happen in your situation is to give us a call so we can discuss the facts of your situation.
Cooperating With The Prosecutors in a Drunk Driver Case
One of the somewhat unique things about a claim against a drunk driver who causes an injury is there’s almost always a significant criminal prosecution that is going on at the same time. Clients have often asked, “Should I participate in that prosecution? Should I help the prosecutor? Is that going to do something bad to my case?” The answer is the prosecutors in this setting tends to be our friend and we want to cooperate with them.
We have to recognize that anytime there’s going to be on-the-record testimony involved in the prosecution of the drunk – the prosecution being the criminal action the state brings against the drunk as opposed to the claim that you have for your damages – it can be used in the civil case. As such, you want to be prepared before you talk on the record in the criminal case and before you give testimony at trial or at a preliminary hearing or anything like that. You want to have lawyers involved helping you and making sure that you’re ready because the prosecutors aren’t going to be as focused on the issues related to your personal injury case as your personal attorney is.
While you should cooperate with those prosecutors, you should do so in conjunction with and consultation with your own attorneys in your civil case. It’s important to have attorneys involved. What you should do is give us a call. We’ll talk about your situation and see what we can do to assist you and help you assist the prosecutors in getting a measure of justice for society, then later we’ll get a measure of justice for you.
Options Available in a Drunk Driver Accident Case
When there is a drunk driver who causes a car crash in Idaho and causes an injury to others, there are some options for the injured person about who they pursue and how. Obviously, the claim against the drunk driver exists, but, given that drunks cause substantial damage to people, sometimes that driver won’t have really enough insurance to cover or deal with the injuries they caused. Sometimes other people are responsible as well and they can be turned to for damages.
Idaho law recognizes that the server of alcohol can actually be held liable for the behavior of the drunk at times. If the server serves somebody when they are obviously intoxicated, and that person goes on to drive down the road and cause a collision, that server has liability to the injured person as well. Pursuing that person in Idaho takes complex, sophisticated, legal work and lots of investigative work to identify the right person to pursue on that claim.
If you are injured by a drunk driver, you want the right lawyers involved – lawyers with the experience to pursue all aspects of the case – to make sure that your compensation is complete and full after the injury caused to you by this drunk driver. We’re happy to talk to you about your claim. If you just give us a call, we can discuss, review, and evaluate your situation to help you make the best choice for your future.
Drunk Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance
One of the sad things about collisions with drunk drivers is you’ll find out that they often— particularly chronic drinkers— don’t actually have auto insurance. They cause a collision, they don’t have any money, they don’t have any auto insurance, but you have been damaged and you’re suffering injuries from this collision with the drunk driver. What are you going to do?
There are two potential options available to you in these situations. The straightforward one is one you could’ve done a long time ago to take care of yourself and that’s to get uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is insurance that you buy on your own car that protects you if an uninsured person causes damage to you. It’s relatively cheap, and we encourage you to buy as much as you can reasonably afford. It’s really important coverage, but it’s an optional coverage so you don’t have to have it. You need to reach out to your insurance agent in person. We’re happy to talk to you about it, if you want to call us and talk about it.
The other option is the potential dram shop claim against somebody who served the drunk and sent them out on the road obviously intoxicated. If that dram shop claim exists, whether that’s against a bar or a social host (i.e., somebody who has served them at their house), you need to put that bar or social host on notice within 180 days. Getting a lawyer involved early in any case involving a drunk driver is a very important thing for somebody injured in a collision with a drunk driver in Idaho.
Call us. We’re happy to talk to you about uninsured motorist coverage, about an uninsured motorist coverage claim, or about your dram shop or potential dram shop case. We’re at the other end of the phone.
Call Our Idaho Dram Shop Liability Lawyers Today
Contact our experienced Boise Dram Shop Liability Lawyers at Hepworth Holzer today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
We are committed to helping individuals and families throughout Idaho navigate the world of personal injury litigation as quickly and efficiently as possible. Let us get results for you and your family.
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