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Understanding dram shop laws in North Carolina

North Carolinians who have been injured in a drunk driving accident know how hard the recovery process can be. In additional to perhaps losing their physical abilities, these individuals may incur extensive pain and suffering and financial losses in the form of medical expenses and lost wages. Though these victims can file a lawsuit against the negligent driver who hit them, it may be hard to recover all the compensation to which they are entitled. However, dram shop laws may help a drunk driving accident victim extend liability to a third party and thus increase their chances of recovering full compensation.

Dram shop laws state that an establishment or vendor may be held liable for an individual's injuries if he or she was injured by one of the establishment's customers, if that customer was intoxicated. Typically, in order to recover under a dram shop law, a victim must show that the patron was in fact sold alcohol by the establishment and that the patron was obviously intoxicated when alcohol was sold to him or her. Therefore, if these elements are present, the establishment sold alcohol to an already intoxicated individual, knowing that he or she could pose a danger to others.

While extremely helpful to accident victims, dram shop claims can be quite complicated. It can be difficult to prove the aforementioned elements. This may cause further stress to an accident victim who merely wants the money he or she needs to reach as full a recovery as possible.

The good news is that North Carolina attorneys are willing and able to take on these cases. An experienced attorney will know how to approach dram shop issues and how best to proceed to establish the necessary elements. Then, hopefully, the victim will be able to recover the maximum compensation to which he or she is entitled, allowing him or her to move on with life and focus on reclaiming his or her health.

Source: FindLaw, "Dram Shop Laws," accessed on Nov. 16, 2014

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