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Massachusetts bars may be liable following drunk driving accidents

Victims of drunk-driving accidents can typically seek damages against bars and taverns when they over serve patrons who then decide to get behind the wheel. This particular form of legal responsibility is more commonly known as Dram Shop liability in Massachusetts.
 
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    December 14, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Massachusetts bars may be liable following drunk driving accidents

Article provided by Alford & Bertrand, LLC
Visit us at http://www.alfordandbertrand.com

According to a report recently issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 123 alcohol-related traffic fatalities on Massachusetts roadways last year - representing an astonishing 35 percent of all traffic deaths in the state.

Sadly, the families of drunk-driving victims are often the ones left dealing with the immense grief and financial responsibilities following these disastrous and deadly accidents. And, although nothing can be done to replace a loved one, families need to be aware that recourse may be available to hold those responsible for the accident accountable for their poor choices.

In fact, families of drunk-driving victims - or the victims themselves if they fortunately survive the drunk driving accident - can typically seek damages against a drunk driver for any deaths caused or injuries sustained in a Massachusetts drunk driving car accident. Importantly, these damages are in addition to the possible criminal charges that the driver may face.

However, it is crucial to note that under Massachusetts law, bars and taverns may also be liable for drunk driving accidents when they over serve patrons who then decide to get behind the wheel. This particular form of legal responsibility is more commonly known as Dram Shop liability in Massachusetts.
Details of Massachusetts' Dram Shop law

As far back as the 1960s, Massachusetts courts have recognized common law Dram Shop claims. Specifically, this right of action is rooted in a Massachusetts statute that expressly prohibits the sale of alcohol to "intoxicated person[s]."

Essentially, a Dram Shop action in Massachusetts is based on the doctrine of negligence - meaning a victim injured by a drunk driver must show that the bar negligently served alcohol to the already-intoxicated driver prior to the accident. Accordingly, in order to hold a bar or tavern liable following a Massachusetts drunk driving accident, the victim needs to be able to prove several elements, which include:
-The patron (driver) of the bar or tavern was served intoxicating liquor
-The patron was already intoxicated when served
-The seller knew, or reasonably should have known given the circumstances, that the patron was already intoxicated when served
-The patron drove a vehicle while intoxicated
-The patron's operation of the vehicle was "reasonably foreseeable" by the bar or tavern
-A person of "ordinary prudence" would have refrained from serving alcohol to the patron under similar circumstances
-The patron's operation of the vehicle caused injury of death to the third-party victim, and was within the scope of the foreseeable risk

As is obvious from this seven-factor test, establishing Dram Shop liability can be quite fact specific in Massachusetts. Consequently, if you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving accident, it is best to speak with an experienced car accident attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can help review the circumstances of your accident and assist in determining potential liability.



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