You know that drunk drivers are out there, yet like most, you probably never anticipate encountering one on the streets of Bridgeport. However, if and when sucn an encounter results in a collision, the results can often be devastating, with you and your passengers suffering serious injuries (or even death), and your vehicle sustaining extensive damage. Unquestionably, the irresponsible actions of the driver are to blame for your predicament. Yet could you also hold those who contributed to his or her drunken state liable as well?
As you already know, there are many local establishments legally licensed to sell alcoholic beverages. While their business is to service their patrons, they do not compel those customers to imbibe. Therefore, how could they be held responsible for one’s decision to get behind the wheel after drinking? A legal concept known as dram shop laws assigns that responsibility to them.
Dram shop laws allow you to go after an establishment or private host who served alcohol to the drunk driver that hit you. These laws differ from state to state. Connecticut’s version is found in Section 30-102 of the state’s statutes dealing with intoxicating liquors. It states that you can hold a seller of alcohol liable if the subsequent actions of one of its consumers causes you harm. In cases where you sustained injuries, you have 120 days from the date of the accident to bring such action. If your accident resulted in the death of a loved one, that time limit is extended to 180 days. The maximum amount you may recover in damages through such an action is $250,000.
There is one caveat to Connecticut’s dram shop law. In order for it to apply, the drunk driver who caused your accident (and to whom the establishment provided the alcohol) must be under the age of 21.