Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta
It’s important to know your rights if you’re dealing with a drunk driving claim due to being overserved in Canada. Dram shop laws dictate that bars, taverns, restaurants, and other commercial establishments may be legally responsible for accidents or injuries after serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. However, these cases can require an extraordinary amount of proof before victims can receive compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer specializing in drunk driver cases in Alberta or British Columbia can help you navigate your legal path.
Overserving refers to providing a patron with an amount of alcohol that would be considered more than is needed, appropriate, or safe. What happens when dram shops are found responsible for overserving a patron who goes on to cause an accident, injury, or violence? Bar owners and commercial establishments may be subject to civil liability if intoxicated patrons are involved in accidents. Every province determines how much liability for the acts of a drunk patron can be applied to dram shops. The takeaway is that dram laws enable third-party victims of injuries to file claims against establishments for damages. Victims are generally able to bring suits against both the intoxicated individual and the serving establishment. When determining the liability of a business, the law examines recklessness, negligence, and intentional misconduct.
What does liability look like for a dram shop? Many scenarios could result in a business being found liable for the actions of an intoxicated person. The most common scenario occurs when dram shop employees allow customers to leave without making arrangements for safe, responsible transportation that would enable them to avoid getting behind the wheel of a car.
Dram laws extend liability for an alcohol-related accident to the establishment that provided the alcohol that potentially fueled the accident. These laws are designed to protect victims who may need to seek compensation after sustaining long-term injury and disability. Generally, an establishment’s liability insurance payout being added to whatever compensation a victim can receive from the driver is considered to be more adequate than what a victim could recover from the driver alone. In addition to providing payment for victims, dram shop laws are designed to motivate establishments to act responsibly when dealing with intoxicated patrons to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents.
Civil liability cases involving intoxicated patrons are among the most complex legal cases. The law views establishments as having a duty to act reasonably by refusing to serve alcohol to patrons who are visibly intoxicated. However, the law dictates that evidence must prove that an establishment’s staff could reasonably conclude that an intoxicated patron posed a risk to others.
In addition to being liable for motor vehicle accidents caused by a patron being overserved, establishments can also be found responsible for fights, altercations, and other types of accidents that result in injuries. When you’re caught up in an overserving case from any angle, it can be difficult to know where to start with collecting evidence that proves that an establishment’s actions played a role. Connecting with a personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible is advised. While the events of the incident that left you harmed may seem hazy in your mind, there’s much that can be done to document the events leading to the incident, even if some time has passed. Putting together a claim may include obtaining video surveillance from the establishment, collecting witness statements, putting together an accident reconstruction, getting expert opinions, and other crucial steps.
The law sees dram shops as having a unique opportunity to stop tragedy by practicing responsible serving. When a patron appears visibly intoxicated, it should be assumed that they can pose safety threats caused by both physical impairment and poor judgment. However, establishments sometimes fail in their duties.
Davie & Associates is a law firm specializing in personal injury law in Alberta and British Columbia. Our experienced legal team can help you explore options for civil liability against establishments that have acted irresponsibly in regards to serving intoxicated customers who went on to cause harm to others. If you’ve been injured due to drunken behaviour, pursuing a claim against an establishment’s insurance may be a viable option for seeking the maximum compensation to cover costs associated with pain, injury, disability, and suffering. Our convenient offices in Red Deer, Edmonton and Penticton make it easy to talk with a lawyer about your claim arising from being overserved. Get help with making sense of overserving laws in Alberta and British Columbia. Contact Davie & Associates today.