In most cases, when someone is injured, a civil lawsuit is filed against the person who caused the injuries. For example, if you were in a car accident and it was the fault of another driver, you’d likely consider filing a civil lawsuit against them to try to recover compensation. However, when alcohol is involved, things can get more complicated. Using the same example, if the other driver was under the influence of alcohol and that’s what caused the accident, you might also be able to file a lawsuit against the person or establishment who served the other driver the alcohol. This is known as Connecticut’s dram shop laws. If you believe you have a viable claim based on a similar situation, you should consider contacting a Waterbury DUI accident attorney right away.
Dram Shop Laws
Under Connecticut law, if a business or a person sells alcohol to someone and that person then goes on to injure another person, the business/person can be held liable if you can prove the following elements:
- The individual who caused your injuries was visibly perceivably intoxicated when they were served or sold the alcohol, and
- Your injuries were a result of the individual’s intoxication.
While this might sound easy to prove, it’s actually a bit more nuanced than it might seem at first. How do you prove that someone was visibly intoxicated? What does perceivably intoxicated mean?
More Than Negligence
Most personal injury claims are based on a negligence framework, meaning that all you have to do is prove that the defendant was negligent in order to recover damages. Under Connecticut’s Dram Shop Law, this is not enough, though. You must prove that the defendant who sold or gave the other individual alcohol did so recklessly or intentionally (unless the alcohol was sold to a person under the age of 21, in which case all you have to show is negligence).
Under this law, the maximum amount of compensation you can recover is $250,000, regardless of how many people were injured in the accident. This means that if 3 people were injured and they are all filing a lawsuit against a person or establishment, the most they can recover is a total of $250,000 that must be split amongst the three of them.
In order to file a Dram Shop claim, you must give written notice to the person or establishment that you plan to file a lawsuit against. You must do this within 60 days of the date that the accident occurred. In this notice, you must provide information regarding the time and date that the sale of alcohol was made, who the alcohol was sold to, the name and address of the individual who was injured or whose property was damaged, and the time, date, and place that the injury or property damage occurred.
If you find yourself in this situation, contact an experienced attorney right away so you can ensure that you don’t miss out on the chance to recover the compensation you’re entitled.