Who Can Be Held Liable For DUI Accidents in New Jersey?
Attorney contributor Brian Kent would like to discuss liability for drunk driving accidents in New Jersey:
New Jersey, along with most other states, has dram shop and social host laws which may allow third parties to be held liable for providing alcohol to someone who causes an alcohol-related accident. This means that the victims of drunk drivers in New Jersey may have the option to file both a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver and a dram shop lawsuit against the alcohol vendor who served the driver.
Dram Shop Lawsuits
In order to have grounds for a dram shop lawsuit in New Jersey, an alcohol vendor must have either:
- Provided alcohol to someone who was “visibly intoxicated”, or
- Provided alcohol to someone the vendor knew or reasonably should have known was a minor under age 21.
If either of these conditions applies and that customer goes on to injure someone else in an alcohol-related accident that night (such as a drunk driving crash), then the alcohol vendor could be held liable for damages if the injured person decides to sue.
Social Host Liability
Additionally, New Jersey has social host laws which apply to hosts of parties or similar events. Injury victims may seek damages from a social host if that host provided alcohol to a guest who injured the victim, and:
- The guest was visibly intoxicated in the presence of the host, or
- the beverages were provided “under circumstances manifesting reckless disregard of the consequences” to another, and
- the circumstances created an “unreasonable risk” of harm to life or property, and
- the injury was a result of a motor vehicle accident caused by the intoxicated guest who was served alcohol by the social host.
If you’ve recently been hit by a drunk driver and are curious about seeking damages for your injuries, we advise discussing your case with an experienced DUI victims lawyer.
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