Accidents Caused by Drunk or Drug Impaired Drivers
The attorneys at Dailey & Borsellino, P.C. of Dedham, MA represent persons and the loved ones of persons who are injured or killed by drunk drivers. Massachusetts forbids anyone from driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher – e.g. drunk drivers. No person under 21 is allowed to have any alcohol in their system while driving. Drunk driving substantially increases the risk of accidents and serious injury or death. About 1/3 of traffic fatalities involve a drunk driver. Car accidents are the leading cause of death of teenagers; 25% of those fatal crashes involve an underage drunk driver.
Persons injured by drunk drivers have strong liability cases against impaired drivers. Attorneys must exhaustively search for all possible liability insurances including compulsory, optional, excess or umbrella liability coverage held by the impaired driver and all uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage held by the victim on their own or household policies.
In appropriate cases, it is important for attorneys to hold third parties jointly liable for injuries caused by drunk drivers. Employers are responsible for the actions of their employees in the course and scope of their job. Employers are also liable for negligently entrusting their vehicles to an employee they know is likely to be drunk driving. Employers often carry commercial liability policies with greater coverage than an average car owner. Non-employers who negligently entrust their vehicles to drunk drivers or who exercise control over the actions of the drunk driver may also be held liable on grounds similar to those of employers.
Establishments who sell liquor to minors and serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons are liable for the damages caused by drunk drivers. A standard drink contains 14 grams or .6 ounces of alcohol – e.g. a 12 ounce beer, 5 ounce glass of wine or a 1.5 ounce shot of 80 proof liquor. Predictable effects of alcohol consumption can be detected in the average person after 2 to 4 drinks. Bars, restaurants, clubs, sports stadiums and other liquor serving establishments are expected to understand the general alcohol tolerances of patrons, to monitor and be able to detect visible signs of individual intoxication and to carry liability insurance. Many establishments require their employees to be trained to serve alcohol, often through the national Training For Intervention Program (TIPS). Businesses may be held liable for serving alcohol to patrons with slurred speech, delayed reaction, glassy eyes, impaired coordination, aggressive or out of control behavior and other behaviors caused by intoxication.
Massachusetts law makes it illegal for anyone to allow a minor to consume alcohol on their property. Those who violate this statute are treated criminally as if they furnished the alcohol to the minor themselves. Dailey & Borsellino, P.C., in a state and nationally publicized case, earned one of the first Massachusetts Court decisions to allow liability to be found against commercial property owners, who did not serve or supply the alcohol, if it is proven that these owners knew or should have known that underaged drinkers consumed their own alcohol on the property and would become foreseeable drunk drivers.
Persons injured by drunk drivers should promptly obtain a skilled attorney to investigate their case. The attorney should gather all print and visual media accident accounts, meet with the victim, collect police reports, scene photographs, breathalyzer and field sobriety test results, accident vehicle inventories, witness lists and criminal court records, evaluate the liquor serving establishment, interview on-scene service providers such as fireman, EMT’s and tow truck drivers, adjacent residents and business owners and otherwise develop the victim’s case. The attorney should consider employing a private investigator, photographer, accident reconstructionist, toxicologist or other appropriate expert. The attorney should accurately construct a time table of the drunk driver’s behavior leading up to the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, call the attorneys at Dailey & Borsellino, P.C. at 781-329-9500 or complete our contact form.