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Restaurants can be held liable for drunk driving accidents

A drunk driving accident in North Carolina is shedding light on the way restaurants and bars may be held liable for drunk driving accidents.

Earlier this month, a Charlotte jury returned a $1.7 million verdict against a Charlotte restaurant, stating that the restaurant was negligent in serving a man alcohol who was already intoxicated. The lawsuit was filed by a couple who was involved in a car accident caused by a man who was over-served at the restaurant.

The accident happened in 2010. According to the lawsuit, the man was served at least 10 drinks at the restaurant. After the man left, he crashed into the couple's vehicle, severely injuring the couple and killing their unborn child. The man was also fatally injured.

The couple filed a liability lawsuit against the restaurant that served him alcohol under North Carolina's dram shop liability law. North Carolina's law holds restaurants and bars liable for serious injuries or fatalities caused by intoxicated or underage patrons involved in alcohol-related crashes.

Supporters of the state's dram shop law include MADD. Supporters state that these laws make establishments more responsible when serving alcohol to customers. MADD states that dram shop laws reduce drunk driving accidents as well as bring attention to the dangers of over-serving customers alcohol.

The biggest debate over dram shop laws is caused by the ways establishments may be held legally responsible for accidents. Civil lawsuits of this nature usually result in a monetary settlement for victims involved in the accident and many restaurants and bars argue that the law doesn't make drunk drivers accountable for their own actions.

Source: Digtrad, "Horrific Crash Puts Spotlight On Dram Shop Laws," Nov. 24, 2012

Our law firm represents victims injured in drunk driving accidents. To learn more about our law firm, please visit our North Carolina car accident page.

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