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Can You Hold a Business Responsible for Serving a Drunk Driver?

Accidents caused by drunk drivers often cause a number of issues for the people in the other vehicle. First and foremost, there is the physical and emotional trauma that results from a major car crash. Injuries can leave people unable to work for weeks, and financial hardship can result from missed work, vehicle repairs and medical expenses.

Many people experience secondary stress and consequences from a drunk driving crash when they realize their costs stemming from the crash have already exceeded the liability coverage that the other driver had on their vehicle. In some cases, a driver with inadequate insurance may also have inadequate assets to justify taking legal action against the driver directly. While you could pursue a lawsuit, the chances of recovering anything for those efforts may be minimal.

However, in certain circumstances, you may be able to close the gap between the compensation you received and how much you actually need by looking into secondary liability beyond the drunk driver. Restaurants or bars that overserve their patrons or serve alcohol to minors may incur liability for collisions caused by people they sold alcohol to under Missouri dram shop laws. In fact, Attorney William K. Holland successfully sued Sunset Hills-based bar and restaurant Helen Fitzgerald’s on behalf of a St. Louis woman who was hit and killed by a drunk driver seen drinking at the bar earlier in the evening.

What are dram shop laws?

Businesses that sell intoxicating substances to the public have an obligation to put public interest above