Nothing is disheartening than losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. While no amount can replace the loss of life, the only way to have some peace of mind is to get financial compensation following a civil justice system. Wrongful death can occur either because the driver was drunk or he/she decided to drive while intoxicated. If the driver causes an accident while intoxicated, it may cause injuries to a passenger or a pedestrian which may even lead to death. In such cases, a driver is the one to be held liable for negligence. But did you know that the bar or business from which this driver who caused harm or wrongful death to a third party could also be liable? In Alaska, this law is referred to as the Alaska dram shop law.
Understanding Alaska’s Dram Shop Law
In a legal context, a dram shop refers to a set up that sells alcoholic beverages. It could be a restaurant or a bar and the likes. In almost every state, there is a dram shop law that governs the liability where there is the involvement of injuries or wrongful death. According to this law, any commercial alcohol provider may be held liable for damages arising from alcohol intoxication. If your loved one had lost their life either because he/she was a passenger in a vehicle whose driver was intoxicated or a pedestrian, you might need to hire personal injury lawyer in Wasilla to help you understand how this law may be made useful in such a case. Generally, a dram shop case involves three parties; the victim injured or the one who may have their loved one, the driver, or the person who caused the injuries or the wrongful death and the liquor seller. For liability to arise, the claim must be grounded on the below basis:
- A visibly intoxicated person was served with alcohol: This brings about the question of whether the driver or person who caused the death was visibly intoxicated. Some examples that may lead someone to detect an intoxicate person are:
- Someone who is exhibiting a blank stare look
- Using slurred speech
- Looking animated, or
- Being too loud
- A person below the age of 21 years was served with alcohol: In Alaska, it illegal for someone under the age of 21 years to drink and serve any alcoholic drink
- The intoxicated person caused injuries or death to someone else: If an intoxicate person drives, there is a high probability that one may cause an accident that may lead to injuries or even death.
An intoxicated driver can either hit a pedestrian or cause an accident, leading to a passenger’s death. While such laws differ by state, one may require some legal counsel to understand who may be held liable in case a loved one loses their life under such circumstances.
Who May Be Liable In A Dram Shop Case?
Like in any other personal injury claim, the wrongful death claim in Alaska must be filed by:
- The personal representative of the deceased estate: The damages received are to benefit the surviving spouse or kids or the parents of the deceased.
- The estate:This is if the deceased never had any dependents. In such a case, the damages received are only limited to pecuniary loss.
Liquor stores or restaurant license owners may be liable for causing injuries or killing someone else as a due to intoxication. Note than if the person who is serving or selling alcoholic beverages doesn’t hold an authorized license, he/she may not be held liable.
Proving Liability Under The two Dram Shop Cases
In drum shop laws, for one to hold the business or the involved party liable, they may use the below cases:
- First party dram shop case which involves the person whom the bar sold alcohol, became intoxicated and hence suffered injuries due to intoxication
- Third-party dram shop case which includes a third party who suffers injuries or is killed from the acts of an intoxicated person. One may file a claim by proving that the bartender or whoever sold the liquor would have the ability to know the person was drunk.
Getting Legal Help
If your loved one has been injured or killed, you need to hire a personal injury lawyer to assist you in taking legal action against the liable party. Proving fault in such cases may be very complicated. This is because liability must not only be based on negligence but can also be based on intentional conduct. For instance, a bartender has the capability of knowing a visually intoxicated person. Thus, one needs an expert in a dram shop case to get the best compensation. Most of the personal injury lawyer has dealt with situations where there is the involvement of alcohol as the contributing factor to injuries or wrongful death. Therefore, they are the best to help you get a reasonable settlement or verdict.