Alcohol-related car crashes lead to hundreds of injuries and deaths each year. While the State of Idaho can prosecute the bad guy under the criminal drunk driving laws, injured people can look to the drunk, their own insurance, and in certain limited circumstances the person who provided the alcohol to recover compensation for the losses and harms imposed by the crash.
If you have been injured by a drunk driver, we explore all the options to try and help you recover for the losses imposed on you. Our work starts with a thorough investigation of the facts and circumstances of your case. These are the key to everything. While the first avenue for recovery is from the drunk driver himself, often a person reckless enough to drink and drive will also not have adequate insurance coverage.
Thus, we will explore whether your own insurance through your underinsured or uninsured motorists insurance coverage will help you. This is because if you have the appropriate coverage you have bought protection for yourself from the bad acts of others
And in certain limited circumstances Idaho’s “Dram shop liability” statues (Idaho Code section 23-808) may impose legal liability on the person serving alcohol to the drunk driver.
Idaho’s dram shop liability statute provides that a cause of action lies against a provider of alcohol where a drinker causes an injury to a third person when:
The intoxicated person was obviously intoxicated at the time the alcoholic beverages were sold or furnished, and the person who sold or furnished the alcoholic beverages knew or ought reasonably to have known that the intoxicated person was obviously intoxicated.
Both court decisions and this statute recognize that dram shop liability helps protect the public from the dangers posed by drunk drivers. The idea is that once a drunk is drunk society wants the sober person (the server) to prevent the injury to a member of the public.
But establishing that a bar or other server provided alcohol to an an “obviously intoxicated” person requires a high level of proof. Back in the 1990’s in a case called Olson v. JB Sports Bar and Grill, here in Ada County I was working with another attorney and we tried a liquor liability case to verdict. In that case a fine elderly couple, Bob and Nancy Olson ,died when a drunk driver named Tina Lewis drove into the side of their car. The jury awarded $2.9 million dollars in what is still the largest dram shop verdict in Idaho history.
We have worked with people injured by drunks from Adams County and Weiser, down to Caldwell or in Gem County over to, Meridian, Boise , Elmore County as well as Gooding, Blaine County and Twin Falls. In fact, if you have been injured by a drunk driver anywhere in Idaho call us. We want, and know how, to help.