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When is a Bartender Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident?

Posted On: Friday, July 24, 2015

Driving under the influence (DUI) is an issue in Colorado and throughout the country. In 2013, there were 142 deaths in the Colorado related to drunk driving. Of all the driving fatalities that year, 29.5 percent involved DUI. There were 22 alcohol-impaired driving deaths of people under the age of 21, which amounts to 30.1 percent of all traffic fatalities of people in that age group. Driving while intoxicated is a major problem among all age groups, but particularly in those who are underage.

Under Colorado dram shop liability law, bartenders and others who serve alcohol have a certain amount of responsibility to protect their customers. If that duty is violated and an intoxicated customer gets behind the wheel of a car, causing an accident, the bartender may be held liable in a civil lawsuit.

According to Colo. Rev. Stat. §12-47-801, a bartender can be held liable if:

  • They knowingly serve alcohol to someone under 21.
  • They knowingly serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated.

This also applies to parents who provide alcohol to minors. If the intoxicated minor gets drunk at a party, then drives and gets in an accident, the adults who supplied the alcohol may be held liable.

If you want to file a claim against a bartender or another person who served alcohol, you must do it within one year of the accident. Only people who were injured in the accident, or the family of someone who was killed, can bring a lawsuit. The person who was driving drunk cannot file a claim. A claim cannot exceed $150,000. An experienced motor vehicle accident attorney can explain the details of filing a claim against a person or establishment who serves alcohol in Colorado, also called a dram shop liability claim.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a drunk driver, turn to Lampert & Walsh, LLC today. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of Colorado law and are prepared to help you. Call 720-489-5848 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Denver office. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t pay legal fees until we obtain a settlement for you.