According to the Denver Post, Colorado police apprehend approximately 31,000 drunk drivers each year. Nevertheless, the rate of fatal accidents increased. In 2011, for example, drunk driving resulted in over 160 deaths in Colorado, representing a climb of approximately 28% from the previous year.
Whom can you sue?
If a drunk driver injures you or a family member, you can sue multiple parties ― including the driver or owner of the vehicle, the insurance company, and even the party who served the alcohol.
Server liability in Colorado ― Colorado’s Dram Shop Law
Bar owners in Colorado can be held liable for serving alcohol to drunk drivers. This is because Colorado is one of 43 states that have enacted a Dram Shop Law. According to Colorado’s Dram Shop Law, bar owners, social hosts and alcohol servers can be held civilly liable for up to $150,000 following a drunk-driving accident involving one of their customers or guests. However, to collect, the victim or victim’s family must be able to demonstrate that the server consciously served alcohol to a drunk patron, guest, or minor.
The issue of serving alcohol to minors is particularly relevant in suits against social hosts such as:
- parents who allow house parties
- college fraternities
- local bars that do not carefully check for identification
Time is short
A lawsuit under Colorado’s Dram Shop Law must be initiated within one year of the service of alcohol.
If you or a family member is harmed by a drunk driver, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you to understand the full scope of victim rights.