Several different parties could be held financially responsible for the damages associated with a drunk driving accident in Connecticut.
According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch, there were 3,550 people found guilty of drunk driving in the state in 2015/2016 fiscal year. However, there were significantly more DUI cases in the state during that timeframe: 10,265.
It goes without saying that drunk driving is inherently dangerous, both to the people in the vehicle with the inebriated driver as well as to anyone else on the road. Serious injuries and fatalities are, unfortunately, common outcomes.
If someone suffers harm due to a drunk driving incident, there are several ways to hold another party accountable for damages. Those damages could include compensation for the following:
Medical bills and rehabilitation
Property damage or loss
Burial and funeral expenses
Here, we take a look at the various ways that someone else may be held liable.
Suing the driver
Obviously, the main target of a lawsuit may be the drunk driver. He or she broke the law when making the decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after having too much to drink. In many cases, the person’s automobile insurance may cover the cost of the losses. If it does not, that person may have to pay additional damages out of pocket.
Additionally, Connecticut has uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance policies. Therefore, if the responsible party completely lacks insurance, the injured victim may be able to sue his or her own insurance company in order to secure compensation.
Dram shop liability
The driver is not the only party that may be responsible for damages. Connecticut’s dram shop liability law states that if an establishment over-serves an intoxicated person alcohol, and that person injures someone else, the victim may sue the establishment for damages. The law does limit recovery to $250,000.
In order to sue an establishment, the injured party must let the business owner know within 60 days of the incident (barring up to 120 days to name an executor, administrator or guardian, as that does not count against the 60-day deadline).
Social host liability
Connecticut does not have a social host liability law on the books regarding instances in which an adult is at a party at a private residence and consumes too much alcohol and then injures someone. However, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that an adult who enables minors to consume alcohol at a private residence or event may be held liable for damages in the event of an accident involving one of those minors. Additionally, that adult could be charged with a misdemeanor.
It is possible to combine these claims. For instance, a person drinks too much at a bar and then drives and causes a serious accident. That person is underinsured. The victim could possibly sue the bar as well as seek compensation through an underinsured motorist policy.
Additionally, in order for any of these claims to be valid, the law states that they must be initiated within a year of the accident. People who have concerns about this topic should speak with an attorney in Connecticut.