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Victim of drunk driving accident may have Dram Shop Act claim

A person injured in a drunk driving accident may have a right to sue the drunk driver for negligence in causing the accident and any serious injuries that resulted from it. Under the Dram Shop Act in Connecticut, the injured party might also have a claim against the person who may have sold drinks to the intoxicated driver.

Unlike the lawsuit filed by the victim of a drunk driving accident against the driver, the claim under the Dram Shop Act is not based on negligence. There are also special notice rules and a statute of limitations that is only half as long as the two-year negligence statute.

Under the state’s Dram Shop Act, the seller of alcoholic beverages to a person who is intoxicated is liable for up to $250,000 in damages to someone who suffers serious injuries caused by the intoxicated person. If more than one person is injured, the maximum that all of the injured parties combined may recover is $250,000.

The person making a dram shop claim must serve the seller of the alcohol with a written notice containing the following information:

  • The name and address of the injured person
  • The date, time and location of the auto accident
  •  The name of the person to whom alcohol was served
  • The date and time the alcohol was served

The written notice must be serviced on the seller within 120 days following the accident or, if the accident caused the death of the victim, within 180 days of the accident.  Lawsuits for damages under the Dram Shop Law must be filed within one year from the date of the drunk driving accident.

Whether or not a person is entitled to financial compensation following a drunk driving accident is a question that a New Haven personal injury attorney might be in a position to answer after reviewing the facts of the particular case. The attorney could also take steps to protect the accident victim’s rights under the Dram Shop Act.

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