When a person has been seriously injured in a vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver, that driver’s insurance policy is expected to pay the medical bills and lost wages. The insurance company is only obligated to pay out the maximum amount of the policy, however, which may not be enough to cover all the expenses. An injury law firm in Fort Collins may represent the injured person in a lawsuit against the driver or, perhaps, against the bar where this person drank too much.
Dram Shop Laws
Like many states, Colorado has a regulation known as a dram shop law. These laws hold owners of establishments serving alcohol liable if they serve to a visibly intoxicated customer who later causes an accident.
Damages Allowed by Law
If the court finds the bar, restaurant or other establishment guilty in this civil case, the required payment of damages can be as high as $280,810. That is the maximum set by state law as of 2008. The previous cap was $150,000. In contrast, the minimum required liability for an automotive insurance policy in this state is only $25,000 per person.
Proving the Server’s Intention
The injury law firm in Fort Collins representing the plaintiff must prove that the bartender or other server intentionally continued to provide alcohol to a noticeably intoxicated customer. This can be difficult for an individual without professional legal representation.
The establishment owner may report that the party of two or more was sitting at a table, with someone who wasn’t drunk bringing drinks back to the others. The bartender or other server would have no way of knowing that someone at the table was obviously intoxicated.
The injured person may want to contact a law firm such as Burton & Burton for a free initial consultation. Attorneys use various strategies to prove the business was in the wrong for continuing to serve alcohol to a drunk customer. For example, they may be able to find witnesses to support this claim. They find out whether the bartender or the establishment has ever been in trouble for this reason before.