Did A Business Or Party Host Contribute To A Drunk Driving Tragedy?
Of course the intoxicated driver is ultimately at fault. They made the choice to drink and drive. But if we could rewind the tape, often there are others who could and should have stopped that person. Those individuals made a choice to serve more alcohol to an inebriated person or knowingly looked the other way as that person slid behind the wheel of a car or truck.
Georgia law provides a remedy for victims of drunk drivers. The dram shop law allows an establishment that serves or sells liquor to be held liable for personal injury or wrongful death. The social host law allows homeowners and other individuals to be sued for enabling a drunk driving tragedy.
The Houghton Law Firm, LLC represents the person who was injured or the grieving family whose loved one was senselessly killed by a drunk driver. We have brought successful dram shop actions and social host lawsuits in cases across Georgia.
Do you have a dram shop case? Call our Atlanta office at 404-476-2541 to set up a free consultation and case evaluation. We also welcome attorney referrals.
Understanding Georgia Dram Shop Liability
A bar, night club, restaurant or liquor store can be sued for a drunk driving crash under certain circumstances. In oversimplified terms, dram shop liability may apply if:
- The owner or staff served or sold alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person
- The establishment knowingly served any alcohol to an underage person (under 21) who then caused a crash
- They knew or should have known that the visibly impaired person would be driving soon
Proving liability is harder than it might seem. John Houghton knows how to obtain evidence of dram shop liability, including testimony of employees, patrons or the drunk driver. He has litigated many such cases in Georgia, resulting in notable verdicts and settlements.
Understanding Georgia’s Social Host Law
Under the same dram shop statute, a homeowner or person who hosts a gathering might be held responsible if an intoxicated guest subsequently injures or kills someone with their car. Again, such a case hinges on whether the host knowingly provided alcohol to an underage or visibly intoxicated person or did not try to stop their guest from getting behind the wheel. One way to prevent such accidents is to collect the car keys of all guests and not hand over the keys unless the guest is reasonably sober or has a designated driver.
Understanding Punitive Damages Against The Drunk Driver
The first cause of action in any drunk driving case is a claim against the driver and their insurance policy. In addition to compensatory damages available in any auto wreck, that driver may be on the hook for additional punitive damages if a jury deems their actions willful or reckless. Again, there is a high bar of proof and you need a skilled trial lawyer who knows how to gather and present the evidence. John Houghton is familiar with the legal standard and the typical defenses, and has often secured punitive damages on behalf of victims.
A Passion For Prevention And Accountability
John Houghton has long been a crusader against drunk driving because he has seen firsthand the terrible impact of intoxication accidents. He volunteers a great deal of his time to this cause. John is a member of the MADD Georgia Advisory Board (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and has chaired the annual Walk Like MADD Steering Committee to help raise awareness and funding to end drunk driving. In his law practice, he is motivated to hold businesses and individuals responsible for enabling drunk drivers or failing to intervene.
Get A Free Case Evaluation With A Caring Lawyer
If you believe that a business or host is responsible for a serious or fatal crash, call our law office at 404-476-2541 or reach out online to arrange a free consultation. We take cases in Metro Atlanta and statewide, and there are no attorney fees unless we recover compensation. John Houghton personally handles every case, and he is known not only for his legal skill but for being compassionate, attentive and accessible to his clients.