A drunk driving accident can strip you of the life that you once enjoyed. You might lose your physical mobility, which can take an emotional toll, and the physical pain thrust upon you can be difficult to cope with. All of this has to be dealt with at a time when you have to find a way to pay for your medical expenses and rehabilitation costs, all while you’re unable to work and earn a wage.
While a lawsuit against the drunk driver who harmed you may help you recover some of your damages, the truth of the matter is that these individuals oftentimes lack the resources necessary to fully compensate individuals who have been injured in a drunk driving accident. This is where a dram shop liability lawsuit can prove beneficial, potentially giving you access to a deeper pool of resources that are much more likely to fully compensate you for your losses.
But if you’re like most people, then you don’t even know where to start in building your dram shop liability case. Here are some steps that can be taken, though, to better position yourself for success on one of these claims:
- Identify witnesses: To succeed on a dram shop liability claim you have to demonstrate that the establishment in question continued to serve alcohol to a patron who was visibly intoxicated. Therefore, you’ll need to present evidence of intoxication and the fact that the establishment continued to serve alcohol to that individual. Police reports, interrogatories, and depositions might help you figure out where the defendant was drinking, at which point you might be able to obtain transaction records so that you can then identify who was present at the establishment at the same time as the drunk driver. Employment records can also provide insight into who was working at that time.
- Talk to witnesses: Once you’ve identified witnesses, you have to talk to them. Make sure that you take notes or conduct legal depositions so that you know how those witnesses will testify at trial.
- Know who you need to sue: To bring a dram shop claim, you’ll want to know who you need to file a claim against. This might require you to dig through public records, such as property records, business licenses, and records from the entity that provided the liquor license.
- Know the value of your case: Before you can pursue a legal claim and potentially negotiate settlement, you have to know the value of your case. So, take the time necessary to fully analyze both your economic and your non-economic damages. This means acquiring your medical and employment records, speaking to expert witnesses who can give you a realistic idea of what losses you’ll see in the future, and considering how your accident has negatively affected your life.
- Gather other evidence: Outside of witness testimony, there’s probably other evidence that is pertinent to your case. Security footage from the establishment that served the drunk driver can be extremely powerful, and so, too, can police and medical records. You may even need an accident reconstruction to be undertaken to help establish the percentage of fault to be allocated to the other driver.
You deserve aggressive litigation of your case
If you’ve been injured in a drunk driving accident, then you probably feel like you’ve been cheated. You’re probably angry, frustrated, and sad about what the future might have in store for you. But don’t despair. By having an aggressive advocate on your side, you can better position yourself for finding accountability and recovering the compensation that you need and deserve.