Drunk drivers present a hazard to everyone who shares the road, often causing serious injuries to pedestrians, bicyclists, other drivers and passengers of other vehicles. Treating the serious injuries caused by this type of accident can be expensive and some injuries can affect someone for the remainder of his or her life.
It can be important to seek justice when the recklessness of another driver causes someone else to suffer injuries. If you were injured by someone driving drunk, you may be able to seek compensation from the drunk driver, but you may also be able to seek compensation from the party responsible for supplying the drunk driver with alcohol.
If the drunk driver was overserved alcohol at a bar or restaurant, you may be able to hold the establishment responsible, according to New Jersey’s dram shop law. However, the person must have been visibly intoxicated when served alcohol, or the person must have been under 21 and the vendor should have reasonably known that the person was not of legal drinking age.
One example of a time when New Jersey’s dram shop law may be applicable is if a woman was drinking at a bar and the bartender continued to serve her drinks after her speech was slurred. Then, the woman got into her car to drive home and backed into a pedestrian in the parking lot, causing the pedestrian to be severely injured. The pedestrian could file a claim against the woman, but the pedestrian could also file a claim against the bar for overserving the woman alcohol.
Social host liability
A third party might also be responsible for your injuries if the drunk driver was supplied alcohol at a party. According to New Jersey’s social host liability law, you may be able to hold the social host responsible if the drunk driver was visibly intoxicated in front of the host or if the driver was visibly drunk and the alcohol was provided under reckless circumstances.
For example, a man went to his brother’s house for a graduation party where the brother had set out an alcoholic punch for adults to serve themselves drinks. The brother noticed the man stumbling and causing arguments, but he did not intervene when he saw the man continuing to pour himself drinks. The man then left the party to drive home, and on his way home he collided with another vehicle, causing the driver to be severely injured. The driver could file a claim against the drunk driver, but the driver could also file a claim against the driver’s brother who supplied the alcohol.
You should not have to suffer because of someone else’s recklessness. If you have been seriously injured by a drunk driver, there may be more than one way to seek financial compensation to cover your medical expenses and other costs associated with your injury.