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Connecticut drunk driving accidents: What are dram shop laws?

Accidents caused by drunk drivers are a real concern in Connecticut, as they happen far too frequently. When drunk driving accidents do occur, it is normal for the victims or -- in the event of fatality -- their family members to question who may be held accountable for any losses sustained. While in most cases, victims set their sights on taking legal actions against the drivers, few may realize that bars and alcohol retailers may also be found partially liable for such accidents.

Connecticut has adopted what are known as dram shop laws, which allow civil lawsuits to be brought against alcohol vendors if patrons cause DUI-related crashes after leaving their establishments. These cases are not always easy to prove, however. A significant amount of investigative work is necessary before filing claims against alcohol vendors/retailers.

Every state is somewhat different in how dram shop laws are interpreted. For the most part, in order for a vendor or retailer to be held partially liable for drunk driving accident, it will be necessary to prove that it sold alcohol to the driver and that it failed to cut off sale when the patron was clearly intoxicated -- among other things. Again, these might be things that may prove difficult to establish in court.

At the end of the day, those in Connecticut who have been injured or lost loved ones in drunk driving accidents may pursue civil claims against all those thought responsible for their losses --  it is their right. Legal counsel, through investigation, can help determine if dram shop laws apply to one's case. The appropriate claims can then be filed in court. Through the successful establishment of negligence, a court may choose to grant a monetary sum to the victim or his or her surviving family members.

Source: FindLaw, "Dram Shop Laws", Accessed on Jan. 31, 2016

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