A plaintiff has won the lawsuit they filed against both the drunk driver who caused them harm and the restaurant who over served him alcohol, showing the country that dram shop laws do hold bars and restaurants responsible for their actions.
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It was late afternoon when the plaintiff was driving her car in the northbound lanes of a two-way road. Ahead, she noticed that a car in the southbound lanes was driving erratically so she moved onto the shoulder and stopped her car but the decision didn’t save her from avoiding a collision. The other driver crossed over the center lines and hit her head-on.
Despite the fact that her car was stopped the force of the collision completely crumbled her car forcing emergency responders to cut the vehicle open in order to get her out, delaying medical care. When she did make it to the hospital, she was diagnosed with a rib fracture which caused both of her lungs to collapse, lacerations to her liver, fractures to both wrists, a fracture of the left foot, an open fracture of her right knee, and a displaced fracture of the sternum.
She required open reduction surgery and internal fixation of both wrists, her left ankle, and her right knee. Two weeks later she required a second surgery on her right wrist. Due to her injuries, she required a total of 12 weeks of inpatient rehabilitation therapy. Despite the medical care provided, she now has a reduced range of motion in both of her wrists, both of her ankles, and her right knee. She has difficulty walking and climbing stairs. A once avid kayaker and gardener, she is unable to fully enjoy these activities because of her limitations.
Immediately following the accident the police did arrest the other driver for driving drunk, a charge to which he pleads guilty.
When police interviewed the drunk driver, he informed them that just prior to the accident he had consumed a total of seven shots of whiskey and thirteen beers.
The victims filed a lawsuit against both the drunk driver and the restaurant he had been at just prior to hitting her. She alleged that both parties were at fault - the driver for getting behind the wheel of his vehicle while intoxicated and the restaurant for over serving him.
She attempted to settle with both parties before trial for $1.1 million and was turned down. During the trial, the restaurant had a bartender testify that the driver was only in the bar for about an hour and appeared sober. They also had witnesses who stated that the driver had been at a party prior to going to the restaurant.
The facts of the case were presented to a jury and at the end of the trial, the jury determined that the driver was 70% at fault and the restaurant was 30% at fault and awarded the plaintiff a total of $6.2 million - $3 million for her past pain and suffering and $3.2 for her future pain and suffering.
It is likely that both defendants are wishing they had accepted the plaintiff’s previous offer to settle.
In the state of New York, it is illegal for any establishment serving alcohol to serve a patron who is visibly intoxicated. If they do, they can be held legally responsible for the injuries that are sustained if the patron causes an accident.
Legally speaking, in order for a plaintiff to win their case, they must prove:
Proving negligence can be difficult for someone to do without the help of an attorney and is certainly not stress that any injured victim needs to take on while they should be focused on healing. At Banville Law, our attorneys do everything they can to shoulder the burden for our clients so that the legal process goes as smoothly as possible and they ultimately get the compensation that they desperately need.
Find further reading on New York accident reports here: https://banvillelaw.com/motorcycle-accident-causes-in-new-york/