INJURED BY A DRUNK DRIVER? DRAM.
Many states, including Connecticut have enacted so called Dram Shop Laws. A Dram Shop is an establishment that sells liquor for consumption on the premises, such as a bar or restaurant. The Dram Shop Laws are designed to provide monetary recovery for those injured as a result of the actions of intoxicated individuals if those individuals were sold alcohol at an establishment while intoxicated. The Connecticut Dram Shop Act provides that the seller of the alcohol to the intoxicated individual is liable to pay damages up to the aggregate amount of $250,000.00 to persons who are injured as a result of the actions of the intoxicated individual. Any conduct on the part of the intoxicated individual, including negligent conduct such as driving a car or intentional conduct such as assaulting someone, can lead to a Dram Shop claim against the seller of the alcohol.
In order to pursue a Dram Shop claim, the injured person must give written notice to the seller of the alcohol of the intent to bring an action under the Dram Shop Act within 120 days of the injury, or within 180 days in the case of a death or incapacity. The notice must specify the date, time and to whom the sale was made; the name and address of the person injured; and the date time and location where the injury occurred. After the notice is given, any lawsuit must be filed within one year from the act or omission complained of.
The Dram Shop claim does not eliminate other claims you have against the intoxicated individual, such as negligence or assault claims, or claims for any uninsured motorist benefits under your own auto policy if the intoxicated individual caused you injuries while operating a motor vehicle with inadequate or no insurance. It does provide an additional basis for recovery against a Dram Shop provided the elements of the Dram Shop Act are satisfied. If you are injured by a drunk driver, it is important to obtain legal advice as soon as possible after the injury so that your rights under the Dram Shop Act can be properly preserved to maximize any potential recovery.