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Can I sue a third-party if injured in a drunk driving accident?

Those who find themselves in a drunk driving accident often suffer serious injuries. Victims can be left physically debilitated, emotionally wrecked, and financially devastated. It can take years, sometimes even decades to recover from these losses. In some instances, victims are never able to fully recover. If you have been hurt in one of these accidents, one way you can help ensure you reach as full a recovery as possible is to try to recover as much compensation as possible from the negligent parties who harmed you. But who are those parties?

Obviously, if a drunk driver hits you or your vehicle and leaves you injured, then you can file a legal claim against him or her. However, what Tennessee residents may not know is that if that drunk driver was served alcohol by a bar, restaurant or other vendor, then that business may also be held liable under dram shop laws.

Under this theory of negligence, a seller of alcohol can be held liable for a car accident victim's injuries if the seller sold alcohol to an obviously intoxicated individual who caused the wreck. Liability can be imposed because, by selling alcohol to an obviously intoxicated individual, the seller places others in danger. By also filing a claim against a third-party like a bar or restaurant, a victim can help ensure that he or she recovers the fullest compensation possible.

While dram shop laws offer accident victims another layer of protection, such claims are often difficult to handle. The victim typically must satisfactorily show that the vendor sold the alcohol to the individual who caused the accident and that the alcohol was a contributing factor to both the defendant's intoxication and the accident itself. Fortunately, experienced Knoxville attorneys are willing and able to discuss your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Dram Shop Laws," accessed on Nov. 21, 2014

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