Liable Parties In A Drunk Driving Accident –Are Bars To Blame?


Drunk driving is a serious concern in Utah, with more and more people becoming irresponsible behind the wheel. It does not only have negative consequences for the drunk driver but the other innocent users of the road as well. Such accidents constitute about 30% of all car accidents in the US. 

In such cases, one common question that is always asked is whether any other party, such as the bar, can be held liable for the accident. The law is complicated and not the same for every situation. If you are involved in a drunk driving crash case, it is important to speak to a Utah personal injury lawyer, if you are a Utah resident, to understand your rights in detail. 

Is a bar liable for a drunk driving accident?

Yes. A bar is liable for a drunk driving accident in Utah only if the cases meet the conditions stated under the Dram Shop laws in Utah. These laws were put in place to ensure establishments serve alcohol to their customers responsibly. 

What are Dram Shop laws, and what are the laws in Utah?

The British used the term Dram in the 18th century to refer to a bar, pub, tavern, and any establishment that served alcohol. This is where the dram shop laws originated. In modern times, drams are used to refer to any shop that serves alcohol, whether it be a hotel, restaurant, etc. 

In Utah, the law states that vendors, like bars or restaurants, can be held responsible for injuries and damages in drunk driving accidents. This applies if the establishment serves alcohol to the person in the following cases:

  • If the person drinking is under 21 years old.
  • If the person drinking is already drunk or high.
  • If the person drinking is someone who is not allowed to buy alcohol by law or court order.

Like all other legal cases, there are statutes of limitations for dram shop cases as well. If you want to file a third-party lawsuit against a bar that indirectly caused your car accident, you must do it within two years of the accident. Waiting longer than that can result in losing the compensation forever. 

Gathering evidence against a bar for your drunk driving accident. 

Here are some ways you can gather evidence to build your case:

  • Get witness statements from people who were present at the bar at the same time as the driver who caused the accident. This may include customers as well as bar staff. 
  • Physical evidence, such as receipts of their order can show the time of their order and the quantity. 
  • Blood alcohol tests and expert opinions. 

If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident and are wondering if a bar can be held responsible, it is essential to seek legal guidance. Contact a knowledgeable Utah personal injury lawyer today to discuss your case. 

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