Sports Bars and DUIs: Where is the Liability?

For some people injured in DUI cases, they could be looking at a long life of complications due to an accident. These injuries mean these victims will have to rely on expensive and continual medical attention in some form or another. But in some of these cases, drunk drivers may not have the resources to pay for these bills and take care of what they’re responsible for.

But what if drunk drivers aren’t entirely at fault for the injuries of those they impact? Many are right to ask the role that the establishment where they were served is in an issue like this. Can bars legally be held liable for the actions of their patrons once they are out the door and behind the wheel? Do these establishments share some of the responsibility?

Looking at DUI Liability

In most states, the answer to this question is yes. Many state laws allow injured people to sue commercial vendors of alcohol, such as bars, clubs, and liquor stores, when it comes to injuries sustained by a drunk driving accident. While the drunk person behind the wheel can’t sue for damages or injuries they received, those that the drunk person injured usually can. These laws, in general, were enacted to cover the losses that the driver can’t make up, putting some of the blame back on the bar itself.

To be in favor of these “dram shop laws,” as they are known, the person suing must prove that the serving of alcohol by the bar was the cause of the injuries sustained by the victim. Essentially, the victim must show proof that there is a connection between the injuries sustained and the vendor’s actions of serving drinks to the drunk person.

Breaking Down Dram Shop Laws

States that fall in line with dram shop laws usually require that special circumstances must exist in order to state a cause of action for liability against a bar or vendor. It isn’t enough that the bar served alcohol. The vendor must have done something more direct and violated the law, such as serving alcohol to a minor who caused the injury, or over-serving even after they noticed the patron was intoxicated.

To determine whether an action like those listed above was enough to have caused a drunk driving accident can vary from one state to the next. In fact, in California, drivers who cause an accident can’t sue the bar they were served at unless they were a minor.

Insuring Against Claims

Proving liability against a sports bar may seem like an open and shut case in some instances, but it can be more complicated than that. Bar clients need to be aware of the consequences they face and what they are up against in a situation like this, and providing them with sports bar insurance to protect against claims and pay for representation and settlements is an effective solution.

Having sports bar insurance, like medical insurance, may not completely fix the situation, especially one as controversial as a DUI-related accident. But sports bars and other vendors need to make sure they understand the importance of operating without the right coverage.

About American Team Managers Insurance Services

Founded in 1998 by Chris C. Michaels, American Team Managers Insurance Services (ATM) has provided wholesale and MGA services to more than 5,000 independent insurance agents throughout the United States. Our goal is to establish close, long-term relationships with our agency partners and insurance carriers and provide competitive products for the Exclusive and Non-Exclusive markets that we serve. For more information on our products and services, give us a call at (877) 671-7503 to speak to a representative.