If I’m Injured By A Drunk Driver, Can I Sue The Person Who Gave Them The Alcohol?

by Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC on August 23, 2010

in Buffalo Car Accidents

Whether someone who has suffered a personal injury can pursue additional damages from the entity which provided a drunk driver with alcohol depends on the circumstances of each case.  If you are seriously injured by someone who was drinking at a bar or restaurant in the City of Buffalo, under New York State Law you may be able to seek compensation from the business that chose to over-serve the drunk driver. 

To successfully pursue a claim against a commercial business that serves alcohol, the injured party must be able to prove that the business continued to serve alcohol to the drunk driver when he or she was already visibly intoxicated.  This may require the testimony of eyewitnesses, although in cases of extreme intoxication such testimony may not be necessary.

The right to pursue additional damages against the entity that provided alcohol does not extend, however, to individuals injured by someone who became intoxicated at a private residence.  Private individuals who provide alcohol usually may not be sued if the intoxicated person then chooses to drive.

The major exception to this rule applies to individuals who serve alcohol to minors.  New York State Law does permit claims against a social host who provides — or makes available — alcohol to a minor if that minor later injures someone due to his or her impairment or intoxication.  Under such circumstances, the individual who provided the alcohol may be sued for full compensation of the injuries sustained.

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