Drunk driving and other impaired driving accidents have devastating and potentially fatal consequences. Despite widespread public service campaigns against this conduct, motorists across the country continue to engage in this risky behavior. While some New Hampshire personal injury lawsuits involving drunk drivers may be straightforward, many involve complex theories of liability. This is especially relevant in cases involving a negligent bartender or another party who serves alcohol to someone who goes on to cause injuries because of drunk driving.
Drunk driving cases involving a third party typically fall under New Hampshire’s Dram Shop laws. New Hampshire statute § 507-F:4, third party liability applies in cases when an establishment that serves alcohol serves to:
- A minor; or
- A person who is visibility intoxicated.
In these cases, the injury victim or their loved one must establish that the establishment served alcohol to the drunk driver who caused the victim’s injuries. The plaintiff must present compelling evidence that the establishment knew or should have known that the patron was a minor or intoxicated when the establishment served them.
For instance, local news sources reported that New Hampshire authorities arrested a bartender who allegedly consumed shots with teenagers before they were involved in a serious accident. According to video evidence and the bartender’s admission, she served shots to the teenagers for several hours before they got into their car. Police explained that authorities would charge the teenager after being discharged from the hospital. However, the bartender is facing misdemeanor charges which may result in fines and jail time. Another restaurant worker may face similar charges.
The state’s dram shop laws typically apply to businesses; however, private individuals may be responsible under similar theories. Private citizens may be liable as social hosts if they serve alcohol to minors or intoxicated guests. Interestingly, in some instances, those who have injured themselves may file a lawsuit under the statute. Injury victims can sue businesses that knew or should have known that serving alcohol to the victim would create “ an unreasonable” threat of physical harm to the consumer.
Like any other personal injury case, claimants must abide by the state’s strict statute of limitations and notice requirements. In most cases, the time limit is three years from the date of the incident. However, each case is unique, and victims should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Have You Suffered Injuries Because of a Drunk Driver
If you or someone you love has been hurt or died because of a drunk or impaired driver, contact Peter Thompson & Associates. The injury lawyers on our team have extensive experience successfully resolving complex personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits for our clients. Our firm handles all types of car accident cases, including New Hampshire drunk driving accidents, negligent businesses, medical providers, and companies. Our cases involve premises liability, medical malpractice, products liability, and wrongful death. We have recovered significant amounts of compensation for our clients and their loved ones. Contact our office at 800-804-2004 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.