Dram Shop Liability Lawyers in Colorado SpringsLast updated on: July 31, 2022
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Being the victim of an alcohol-related accident or drunk driver can have serious consequences, including medical expenses, property damages, vehicle repair, emotional suffering, and lost wages. After being the victim of an alcohol-related accident, you can file a personal injury claim against the intoxicated party. Under dram shop laws, however, liability can also fall on the drinking establishment that provided the intoxicated party with alcohol, depending on the circumstances of the accident. Colorado Springs dram shop lawyers can help you determine who may be liable for an accident.
Dram shop laws prohibit a drinking establishment, such as a bar or a restaurant that sells alcohol, to serve alcohol to someone they know is a minor, or someone who is visibly intoxicated. If a drinking establishment violates their state’s dram shop laws, that drinking establishment may be found responsible for the actions of the minor or visibly intoxicated person who purchased alcohol from that establishment.
If you believe a drinking establishment could be liable for an alcohol-related accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our Colorado Springs dram shop lawyers.
Can You Sue A Bar For Drunk Driving in Colorado Springs?
Colorado Revised Statute §12-47-801, also referred to as the Colorado Dram Shop Act, outlines Colorado’s dram shop laws. The Dram Shop Act states that a drinking establishment can be liable for the injuries caused by an intoxicated patron if:
- It can be proven the establishment knowingly sold alcohol to someone under the age of 21 or someone visibly intoxicated. If the establishment knowingly sold alcohol to someone under 21 years of age, it does not matter whether that individual was visibly intoxicated.
- The legal action is brought within one year of the sale of alcohol to the individual who was visibly intoxicated or under 21 years of age.
The statute of limitations of a year since the sale of alcohol sounds like a long time to bring a legal action against an establishment, but when you or a loved one has been the victim of an alcohol-related accident, there are a lot of other things to deal with, possibly including lost wages, emotional suffering, property damage, vehicle repairs, and injury recovery. When dealing with these challenges, a year can pass quickly, and filing a lawsuit is not always an immediate process.
This is why hiring an experienced attorney soon after a drunk driving accident is important. Our Colorado Springs drunk driving accident attorneys know the important of filing your claim quickly and will work to prevent your claim from being barred due to timing.
Who Can Sue Under Colorado Springs Dram Shop Laws?
In Colorado Springs, an individual who is injured by an intoxicated patron of a drinking establishment may sue that drinking establishment under the Dram Shop Act. An individual who caused damages to himself or others after being over served at a drinking establishment cannot use dram shop laws to sue the bar where he became intoxicated. The intoxicated individual’s estate, next-of-kin, or legal guardians also cannot sue a drinking establishment under the Dram Shop Act.
Additionally, there is a significant difference between the Dram Shop Act and social host laws, even though both have to do with a provider of alcohol assuming liability for the actions of a person who became intoxicated on alcohol the provider furnished them. Social hosts, unlike drinking establishments, do not sell alcohol with a permit, but provide it in a social setting. A common example of a social host is someone who serves alcohol at a party at their home. Colorado Revised Statute §12-47-801(4)(a) applies social host liability only to people who served alcohol to an individual they knew was under the age of 21, or people who provided someone under the age of 21 with a place to drink an alcoholic beverage.
A person who was injured by an intoxicated person of legal drinking age who received alcohol from a social host could not sue the social host on grounds of dram shop liability or under social host liability. A person who was injured by an intoxicated person under the age of 21 who received alcohol from a social host could sue the social host on grounds of social host liability. The only individuals who can sue a third party under the Dram Shop Act in Colorado Springs are people who were injured by an intoxicated person who purchased alcohol from a drinking establishment licensed to sell alcohol.
There are other situations that could possibly lead to dram shop liability for a drinking establishment, such as an intoxicated person who gets into a fight due to being over served despite his apparent drunkenness, or a visibly intoxicated individual who purchases more alcohol from a liquor store and then drives off. There are many types of injuries caused by intoxicated individuals that could be grounds for dram shop liability if the victim can demonstrate that the drinking establishment served the intoxicated individual alcohol while he was visibly drunk. Talk with Zinda Law Group’s Colorado Springs dram shop lawyers to determine if the circumstances of your case could demonstrate a violation of the Dram Shop Act in Colorado Springs.
What Does “Visibly Intoxicated” Mean in a Dram Shop Liability Case?
To sue a drinking establishment under the Dram Shop Act in Colorado Springs, the purchaser of alcohol must be visibly intoxicated. If it is apparent on sight that an individual has been drinking, they are visibly intoxicated. Outward signs of a person’s intoxication include, but are not limited to:
- Loud or slurred speech
- Making irrational or repeating statements
- Clumsiness, such as trouble walking or spilling drinks
- A flushed face
- Moodiness, crying or becoming angry
- Excessive sweat
- Appearing disoriented or confused
- Difficulty remaining in chair or remaining standing
Colorado Springs dram shop laws are intended to prevent drinking establishments from irresponsibly serving minors or people who are visibly intoxicated. If an individual is displaying obvious intoxication through these or other signs, they should not be served any more alcohol and should be prevented from getting behind the wheel of a car.
Do You Need A Lawyer For A Colorado Springs Dram Shop Lawsuit?
A drunk driving accident or other alcohol related claim may appear straightforward at first, but it may still be beneficial to hire a lawyer. A lawyer can help you determine if you have any kind of claim against the drinking establishment for their role in the accident. If a driver is underinsured or uninsured, you may have no way to collect damages from them even if you have a favorable verdict, whereas a drinking establishment is a business that is likely to be more thoroughly insured and provide a better source of recovery
You deserve to be able to put your life back together and receive justice for your injuries, property damages, and/or emotional suffering. The personal injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group may be able to determine how best to present your claim in order to maximize your chances of recovering.
Are There Any Exceptions to Dram Shop Laws in Colorado Springs?
Colorado Revised Statute §12-47-801(4.5) states that an establishment is not “liable for civil damages resulting from the intoxication of a minor due to the minor’s unauthorized consumption of alcohol beverages during instruction in culinary arts, food service, or restaurant management.”
In other words, while knowingly selling alcohol to a minor could lead a drinking establishment to be held liable for damages caused by the intoxicated minor, if a minor working at an establishment selling alcohol consumed alcoholic beverages without permission, the establishment will not be liable for the injuries caused by the minor. If you are injured by a minor who consumed alcoholic beverages in a workplace environment without the permission of the drinking establishment that furnished the alcohol, it is unlikely you will be able to recover under the Dram Shop Act.
However, even if you are not sure whether your alcohol-related accident was caused by a drinking establishment irresponsibly serving alcohol in violation of the Dram Shop Act, it is still a good idea to talk with an attorney who has experience with dram shop liability cases. The circumstances of an alcohol-related accident may not be readily apparent, and an experienced lawyer can make sure you have all the facts necessary to protect your legal rights.
Is There A Limit On Colorado Springs Dram Shop Damages?
Under Colorado law, Colorado Springs dram shop liability case will be awarded damages of more than $150,000. These damages include both physical damages, such as medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, and any emotional damages for pain and suffering that may have occurred.. This number may not always stay the same, but this amount must be adjusted every so often to reflect inflation.
Get Help From Our Colorado Springs Dram Shop Lawyers
Alcohol can be a dangerous substance, and alcohol-related accidents are very serious, often with life-altering consequences. Drinking establishments should be responsible with who they sell alcohol to, and they should be held accountable when they are not. At Zinda Law Group, our Colorado Springs dram shop lawyers routinely achieve favorable verdicts for victims of drunk driving accidents. Our lawyers will make you a priority and work hard for the settlement that you deserve.
At Zinda Law Group, our hardworking Colorado Springs dram shop lawyers have the expertise to explore all possible liable parties concerning your accident. This gives you the best possible chance at recovering damages. In addition, you will only pay if Zinda Law Group is able to get you a favorable verdict or settlement—otherwise, you won’t pay anything.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.