Rhode Island Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys

Seek the Compensation You Deserve for Your Injuries

woman being given breathalyzer test

When a serious car accident involves a drunk driver, this information is likely to affect the outcome of an injury claim or wrongful death claim. Assuming that police tested an errant driver after an accident, a thorough investigation can verify that a driver had an elevated blood alcohol level indicating intoxication. Even if there was no field sobriety test, there may be other evidence that a driver had been drinking, such as reported observations by police and testimonials from companions.

However, there is another, equally important step in a good investigation after a motor vehicle accident involving a drunk driver. Namely, investigators should discover where the inebriated driver obtained his or her alcohol in the minutes or hours before the crash.

On This Page:

  • Understanding Dram Shop Liability
  • Examples of Dram Shop Negligence
  • Get Help
  • Drunk Driving Accident FAQ

Hit by a drunk driver? Let us help. Call 401-841-5300 today or reach out to us online for a free consultation.

Understanding Dram Shop Liability

If it turns out that a commercial establishment or service vendor (a bar, a restaurant, or a catering business, for example) was responsible for serving beer, wine, or hard liquor to an obviously inebriated customer, there may be a dram shop liability case against that business.

A successful dram shop case normally requires:

  • An investigator who can determine where the driver was served alcohol before an accident
  • Demonstrated evidence that a person was acting intoxicated when a server continued to provide alcoholic beverages to him or her
  • Testimony from an alcohol service industrial expert as to how bars and restaurants are supposed to guard against dangerous intoxication of patrons

Examples of Dram Shop Negligence

Negligence comes in many forms — including serving alcohol to drunk customers. Ignoring obvious signs of a customer's inebriation can be deadly when it leads up to a drunk driving accident. Training agencies and programs such as S.M.A.R.T. programs (Servers & Managers Alcohol Responsibility Training) and the ServSafe Alcohol® program set standards for bartenders and food service managers. Experts from these or similar programs can help us evaluate a potential dram shop case.

  • Did a server fail to check a customer's ID, before that customer left an establishment as an underage drunk driver?
  • Did the server ignore a customer's slurred speech or staggering before serving him or her more drinks, after which the intoxicated person drove a vehicle that crashed into yours?

Evidence of this type can strengthen your claim for compensation after another driver's drunk driving resulted in your serious injury or death of a loved one.

Contact Our Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys in Rhode Island

If you were seriously injured or if a loved one was killed in a crash involving a drunk driver or a distracted driver, we invite you to call our office at (401) 841-5300 to schedule a free consultation. We can help you understand your rights and options.

Our drunk driving accident lawyers are here to help you obtain fair compensation after your accident. Call (401) 841-5300 today for help.

Drunk Driving Accident FAQ:

Can I receive punitive damages in a drunk driving accident lawsuit?

Rhode Island law allows for victims to pursue punitive damages in cases where the at-fault party acted in a way that was motivated by malice or ill will, or if they acted in a manner that was particularly reckless or indifferent towards others' safety. Since drunk driving can often include an intentional decision on the drunk driver's part to disregard the safety of others, there is a chance you could qualify for punitive damages. Your attorney will be the best person to help you navigate this option.

Does a drunk driver have to be convicted of DUI for me to win my case?

No. While having a DUI conviction on their record may serve as evidence in your personal injury case, you do not have to wait for them to be convicted or even charged before you file your personal injury claim. This is because the burden of proof is different for a civil case than it is for a criminal case. Even if the other driver is never convicted of driving under the influence, you may still be able to win a personal injury claim against them.

Contact Us Today

Karns & Kerrison is committed to answering your questions about Personal Injury law issues in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.