The number of DUI accidents that regularly occur on West Chester roads and across the state of Pennsylvania is alarming. In 2017, there were 10,346 DUI accidents in Pennsylvania. In those accidents, there were 293 fatalities and 15 of those fatalities happened right here in Chester County. Even more alarming for our West Chester DUI accident attorneys is that those numbers only include fatalities; there were many more injuries that resulted in those accidents as well.
Pennsylvania dram shop laws allow a DUI accident plaintiff to recover not only from the drunk driver who caused the accident, but also from a person or business that furnished the alcohol. The plaintiff needs to prove that the drunk driver was visibly intoxicated when the business or individual served him or her alcohol and the decision to serve the drunk driver alcohol led to the plaintiff’s injuries.
An injured party may also recover for injuries caused by a person who was served alcohol illegally. This would typically be a situation where a minor was served or the person was served at a place of business without a valid liquor license.
Drunk drivers may be liable, but recovery is often limited to the limits of their insurance policies because it can be difficult to collect from an individual. Policy limits may not be enough to cover injuries that are fatal and severe.
Businesses may be liable when alcohol is sold to a visibly intoxicated person and the decision to serve that person directly leads to the plaintiff's injuries.
– Individuals may be liable for drunk driving injuries as well. At a private party the host may be liable or other person who is there to serve alcohol to guests such as a caterer, bartender, or server.
When you have been injured in a DUI accident, you deserve to be compensated for all of your injuries and damages which frequently include lost wages, lost future earning capacity, property damage, pain and suffering, and medical bills. Punitive damages may also be recoverable in some cases. Punitive damages are not awarded freely, but they have been awarded in DUI accident cases. These damages are meant to punish the defendant for his or her conduct.
In fatal DUI cases, depending on the circumstances, sometimes a wrongful death claim and/or a survival action may be appropriate. Wrongful death claims may be made by certain close family members who have sustained damages due to losing their loved one such as financial support, services, care, and guidance. Survival actions benefit the decedent’s estate for the decedent’s damages and injuries suffered before he or she died.