You may be able to pursue what’s known as a “dram shop claim” or “social host liability claim” under laws that hold businesses liable for serving customers who are already intoxicated or underage and who later cause car accidents. An attorney would have to investigate, but injured drivers can sometimes obtain additional compensation through these kinds of third-party claims.
Both New York and New Jersey have what’s known as “dram shop” laws that pertain to those who sell alcohol and “social host” laws that address those who serve alcohol in private gatherings.
There are differences in the two states’ statutes but, in general, if a business or a party host provides alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated or underage, and it can be shown that the patron’s or guest’s age or state of intoxication should have been recognized, the business or host may be held liable for harm that person causes because of their intoxication.
An investigation might show through sales receipts, cellphone records, social media activity, witness statements or other evidence that the driver who caused an accident was at a bar or party just before the crash. This would support a third-party dram shop or social host claim.
In the car accident cases we handle, the Ginarte law firm conducts the thorough investigations necessary to determine whether a third-party claim may be available to our clients. For example, if our investigation shows that avehicle defect caused a car accident, a car or car parts manufacturer might be held liable in a third-party claim. If deferred maintenance or defective design of a roadway or the setup of a work zone contributed to a car accident, a contractor or the responsible local government maybe held liable.