If I’ve been injured in a collision with a drunk driver, who can I sue?
St. Paul personal injury attorney Paul Gatto talks about who you can sue if injured by a drunk driver in a collision.
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Well, of course, you can sue the drunk driver but depending upon where the drunk got drunk you might also be able to sue the bar or restaurant where he was served. In Minnesota, we have Dram Shop Law that requires legal liability to be imposed upon a vendor of liquor if the liquor is sold illegally. An illegal sale of liquor can be to one who’s obviously intoxicated or to one who is under age. And you want to investigate that and you want to make sure that that is an element of your claim because it gives you some advantages going forward in a case. So for example, when you sue the drunk driver if the co-defendant also is a liquor establishment now the drunk driver’s drinking and alcohol content is in play and is relevant to the case so the jury is going to hear that.
If you don’t have that liquor establishment, in your case you’re going to be limited to suing the drunk driver and if his insurance company decides to admit liability, the insurance company then strategically has been able to eliminate any evidence of the drinking from the trial and that’s a big deal. So you want to investigate this Dram Shop claim very, very heavily. Most of the time in Dram Shop cases we see the situation where the claim is that liquor website sold to a person who was already obviously intoxicated and that’s a hard thing to prove you have to get it in there and do some investigation and find some witnesses. And then, sometimes you’ll find a witness who is willing to talk. Sometimes they’ll have an epiphany and come forward later on. That happened to me in a case on the last day of depositions of discovery we didn’t have a case until the witness finally came forward and said you know what, I remember he was drunk.