Drunk drivers may be the last thing that you think about encountering on New London’s streets. Yet given that fact that local establishments do sell alcohol, the threat of encountering such a driver on the road is very real. This may prompt you to question exactly what role the law assigns to those who furnish alcohol to drivers who later cause accidents, and whether such providers can be held legally liable for these results.
Dram shop laws refer to legislation enacted to assign vicarious liability to restaurants, bars and other establishments whose alcoholic beverages contribute to a driver’s intoxication. Each state has it’s own dram shop legislation. Connecticut’s is spelt out in Section 30-102 of the state’s Liquor Control Act. It states that if you are injured by a drunk driver, you may be able to hold the establishment that contributed to his or her drunkenness liable for up to $250,000. However, the law does that say that in order for it to apply, drinks must be served to an “intoxicated person.” This has been interpreted to mean that a patron must have already demonstrated signs of impairment, yet the establishment’s employees continued to serve him or her anyway.
Another major limitation to you citing dram shop liability in a drunk driving accident is that the law does not apply in cases where the driver is over the age of 21. Connecticut also has a social host law that is similar to its dram shop law. It allows you to assign liability to a private party who allowed one to consume alcohol at his or her home or event and then that person later is involved in an accident with you. Yet again, it only applies to cases where alcohol is served to minors.