Drunk driving is a significant problem in Colorado. While most people who are involved in drunk driving accidents recognize their ability to hold the driver accountable, they may not realize they can sue the vendor or social host that furnished the drunk driver with alcohol, in certain circumstances. This type of lawsuit is known as a dram shop liability claim.
If you or a loved one was recently injured in an accident involving an impaired driver in Denver, Colorado, the attorneys at Dormer Harpring can help you pursue justice. We are passionate about holding wrongdoers accountable for devastating drunk driving car accidents – including someone who negligently served the driver alcohol. Request a free consultation today to find out if you have grounds for this type of case.
Drunk driving accidents are notoriously devastating for the victims involved. You are already going through enough as someone who has suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in a tragic drunk driving collision in Denver. You should not also have to deal with the legal process of filing a lawsuit or a dram shop liability claim to pursue compensation on your own.
An attorney can help you with each step of your case to make the process easier and achieve the best possible results on your behalf. For example, a lawyer can investigate the accident and revisit the scene to collect evidence. A lawyer can also hire qualified experts to testify and support your claim against an alcohol vendor or social host. Most importantly, throughout the claims process, a lawyer will listen to you and address your needs to help you get through this difficult time.
In an effort to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents each year, the Colorado legislature allows for dram shop liability claims. The state’s dram shop law is found in Colorado Revised Statutes Section 44-3-801. This law states that a cause of action may be brought against a licensed vendor of alcoholic beverages (known as the “licensee”) for a drunk driving accident in certain circumstances.
A dram shop claim is a type of civil lawsuit that is brought against the provider, furnisher or vendor of an alcoholic beverage for contributing to a drunk driving accident. It aims to hold the alcohol vendor responsible for its part in causing the crash. The purpose of a dram shop claim is to make the community more aware of the significant risks of drunk driving and to reduce this risk by holding alcohol vendors responsible for how they serve their patrons.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a common cause of motor vehicle accidents in Colorado. According to data from the Colorado Department of Transportation, about 235 lives were lost in traffic accidents that involved impaired drivers in 2021. This represented about 37 percent of all traffic accident fatalities in the state. A report filed by the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice in January 2022 stated that prosecutors filed 26,165 driving under the influence charges in 2019 alone.
Colorado law places strict limitations on an injured victim’s right to bring a lawsuit against a vendor of alcohol or social host who furnishes an alcoholic beverage to an individual. The law declares that any common law cause of action against a vendor of alcoholic beverages is abolished, even when the consumption of alcohol is the proximate cause of injuries or damages inflicted upon another person, except in two specific circumstances:
It also states that the person who received the alcohol from the licensee does not have the right to bring a civil action for any injury or harm the individual suffered. Finally, the law states that a civil action under this statute must be commenced within one year after the sale or service of alcohol by the licensee to the intoxicated individual. If you wait too long, you may find that your right to a dram shop claim has been barred due to a missed statute of limitations.
Yes, in some cases. Similar to the dram shop liability law, Colorado’s rule for social host liability after a drunk driving accident states that a host can only be held civilly liable for furnishing alcoholic beverages to a drunk driver if it can be proven that the social host knowingly gave alcohol to a minor under the age of 21.
Simply providing the underage person with a place to consume an alcoholic beverage could also place liability on a social host for a subsequent drunk driving accident. In addition, a social host cannot be held liable based on the argument that he or she served someone who was already visibly intoxicated.
Pursuing a dram shop liability claim could help you and your family recover full financial compensation for a drunk driving accident in Denver. The attorneys at Dormer Harpring have years of experience handling these cases and protecting the rights of those injured by intoxicated drivers. We can help you go up against an alcohol vendor or social host in pursuit of just compensation for your injuries. Learn more about how we can help you with this type of case. Request a free consultation at (303) 747-4404 or by contacting us online anytime.