Dram shops must abide by certain restrictions if they’re going to sell alcohol to patrons. If a bar serves drinks to an individual who causes an accident, that bar may be culpable for the injured party’s losses.

Determining when to take a complaint up against an individual and when to address a bar may not seem easy. Fortunately, a dram shop accident attorney in Tucson can help. Zanes Law Injury Lawyers can consider the circumstances of your accident. We can then establish liability via evidence and represent you as you fight for your right to financial support.

When Is a Bar Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident

It’s assumed that a drunk driver bears the liability for a drunk driving accident. However, you can direct responsibility to a dram shop – a bar, wine garden, brewery, or similar institution – if:

  • The institution served alcohol to an individual under the age of 21
  • The individual purchasing alcohol was obviously intoxicated

That said, anyone who wants to bring a suit against a dram shop must indicate that it was the sale of alcohol to the intoxicated individual that resulted in their accident. This can be achieved through a combination of precedent and physical evidence gathered from the scene of the accident, the dram shop, and/or the person behind the wheel of the offending vehicle.

Drivers’ Consequences vs. Dram Shop Consequences

While dram shops can face civil consequences for drunk driving accidents, they may not face criminal ones. Dram shops will only face criminal charges for their actions if a representative provided or sold alcohol to a driver who was under the age of 21.

Drivers, comparatively, can face different criminal consequences depending on the severity of the accident. Standard DUIs can see a person face no fewer than ten days in jail alongside $1,250 in fines. Extreme DUIs result in at least 30 days in jail with $2,500 fines. These consequences grow more severe the more times a person is convicted.

Aggravated DUI Charges

Drivers can face aggravated DUI charges if they’re convicted of driving under the influence three or more times. Alternatively, a person may face these charges if they’re intoxicated while:

  • A passenger under 15 is in the car
  • The driver’s license is suspended or revoked
  • The driver refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test or similar blood alcohol content test

Aggravated DUI charges come along with at least two years of time in prison. The offender’s license will be revoked for up to a year, and they will be required to undergo treatment or education addressing alcohol addiction. Upon their release, these parties may be subject to ignition locks or additional fines.

How to Bring a Lawsuit Against a Dram Shop

If you want to take civil action against an institution that served alcohol to a driver, you must file a personal injury complaint. A.R.S. § 12-542 lets you take up to two years to gather the information needed to hold the dram shop liable for your losses.

Upon submitting your complaint, you may gain the right to summon a shop representative to court or negotiations. Our Tucson, AZ, dram shop accident attorneys can reach out to the defendant and arrange either of these paths for you.

What to Expect From Dram Shop Accident Negotiations

Negotiating for settlements with dram shop owners can be a lengthy process. While a civil court may approve your right to request compensation, you still need to convince a dram shop owner that they hold responsibility for your losses. To do this, you may need to present evidence of both your losses and the legal responsibility the shop owes to you.

We stand with you throughout this process. Our attorneys can gather evidence on your behalf and help the defendant understand why you’ve requested certain damages. While we may have to compromise, we can still help negotiations go as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Many clients prefer negotiations because of the hands-on approach they allow to the legal process. Negotiations also tend to resolve more quickly than trials. That said, they require you to come to an understanding with the defendant. While we can help with that process, it may not be possible for you to reach an amicable agreement with a combative defendant.

What to Expect From Dram Shop Accident Trials

Dram shop accident trials mirror personal injury trials in their beats. This means that Tucson dram shop accident attorneys can prepare you for:

  • Discovery
  • Opening statements
  • Presentation of evidence and witness testimony
  • Cross-examination
  • Closing statements and deliberation

It can take a considerable amount of time for a judge to resolve a dram shop accident case, if only because schedules are difficult to organize. That said, some judges may award you punitive damages if you pursue compensation through a trial. We keep you up to date on developing court dates as your case progresses.

Fighting For Comprehensive Compensation After a Dram Shop Accident

The compensation to which you may be entitled after a dram shop accident depends on the severity of your accident. Typically, you can request:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages or opportunities for employment
  • Property damage, repair, and replacement
  • Trauma, emotional distress, and/or pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death

You must provide evidence supporting your request for each of the forms of compensation you request. With that in mind, we can bring forward medical bills, auto shop expenses, and legal precedent to help defend our estimate of your compensation.

Zanes Law Works to Hold Dram Shops Accountable for Your Losses

Dram shops, or bars, do hold some responsibility for the behavior of their patrons. Dram shops that give alcohol to underage patrons or who allow an intoxicated person to get drive can be held liable for another person’s losses, should that patron cause an accident.

This means that you may not be bringing a post-accident civil suit against an individual driver. Instead, you may have the right to request compensation from an entire institution. The dram shop accident attorneys in Tucson can help you determine what your path to compensation may look like. For more information, contact Zanes Law Injury Lawyers for a case consultation.

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