The driver who was drunk when he killed your loved one is responsible for your loved one’s death. He wasn’t tricked into drinking, and there is no reason to believe that he didn’t understand the potential consequences of drinking and driving.
He should be held accountable for your loved one’s death. According to Kentucky law, the drunk driver is the proximate cause of a drunk driving fatality.
But Is He the Only One?
Pursing other possible causes of your loved one’s death in no way excuses the behavior of the drunk driver. He may also be held accountable.
However, it is important to know what Kentucky law says about:
- The bartender who served too much. According to Kentucky law, a bartender or anyone else who works at an establishment with a liquor license is not liable for a drunk driving accident, “unless a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances should know that the person served is already intoxicated at the time of serving.” If you (and your lawyer, if you have one) can prove that the bartender should have known that he was serving someone who was already drunk, then you could have a case against the establishment. However, the drunk driver still remains primarily liable unless you can prove that the driver who killed your loved one was forced to drink alcohol or was drunk because alcohol was put in a beverage that he reasonably thought to be alcohol-free.
- The liquor store who sold the alcohol. Retail establishments are prohibited from selling alcohol to anyone who is “actually or apparently under the influence of alcoholic beverages,” according to Kentucky statute 244.080.
- The party host who allowed the guest to keep drinking. Kentucky does not have a statewide “social host law” that places blame on the host of a party if a guest, who is age 21 or over, is intoxicated and hurts or kills someone in a car crash.
It is important to hold everyone who may legally responsible for the role that they played in your loved one’s death accountable.
There Are Benefits to Holding Everyone Accountable
Specifically, there are two primary benefits to considering not only the driver, but also the person who served or sold alcohol to the driver:
- Preventing future accidents. If you hold the establishment responsible for selling alcohol to the drunk driver, then that establishment and others like it may be more careful about their practices going forward. Lives may be saved.
- Getting a fair recovery. If the drunk driver does not have the financial ability to pay the settlement or court verdict that is reached, then you may be able to recover the financial damages from the retail establishment which may have the resources to compensate you.
You have suffered an unimaginable loss that never should have happened. Now, your focus should be on your family’s recovery. We hope that the information provided above was helpful and we encourage you to start a live chat with us if you have any questions.