Every one in three traffic deaths in the U.S. is caused by a drunk driver, according to national statistics. In Massachusetts, 2.2 percent of drivers report driving after drinking too much at some point in the last 30 days – which is higher than the national average of 1.9 percent. The actual number is likely much higher, given self-reporting errors.
Drunk driving crashes cost Massachusetts millions of dollars each year in emergency services, medical services, property damage and loss of productivity – not to mention the devastating personal and financial burden of individual victims and families. In terms of recovering some of those losses, civil litigation is usually the best recourse victims have. Although some criminal cases will conclude with a restitution order, a drunk driving accident lawsuit often results in higher compensation – a necessity for those whose lives are forever altered.
But drunk drivers aren’t the only possible defendants in these cases. MGL ch. 138 section 69 prohibits the sale or delivery of alcohol to an intoxicated person on any licensed premises. Although this is a Massachusetts statute aims to establish grounds for criminal justice action, courts have also held violation can be used to establish civil liability of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other venues after an impaired driving crash. These cases are not simple or easy, but they can be an important means of damage recovery and a way to help prevent future drunk driving crashes by holding these businesses accountable. Continue reading