Santa Fe Dram Shop LawyersLast updated on: August 2, 2022
Call (800) 863-5312 to Speak with Santa Fe Dram Shop Lawyers for Free
Alcohol is commonly used socially by many people all over the world—but sometimes it is overused, and the consequences of intoxication can be severe. Often, the first impulse of a drunk driving accident victim is to sue the intoxicated driver. However, dram shop laws present a different option: suing the bar that provided the drunk driver with alcohol in the first place. Zinda Law Group Santa Fe dram shop lawyers can help you do that.
Alcohol-related accidents can be harmful to your peace of mind and your circumstances. If you or a loved one has been the victim of an alcohol-related accident in Santa Fe, the drinking establishment that served the intoxicated person may be liable instead of or in addition to the intoxicated party. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our Santa Fe dram shop lawyers.
Can I Sue a Bar for Drunk Driving in Santa Fe?
After being the victim of a drunk driver, you may be in emotional distress, need costly medical attention, be unable to work, or need expensive property or vehicle repairs. A personal injury lawsuit could help you get compensation for what you’ve had to go through. At Zinda Law Group, our talented Santa Fe drunk driving accident lawyers may look into the liability of the bar and not just the intoxicated driver in your case.
Dram shop laws are state regulations concerning the serving of alcohol by places that have a license or permit to sell alcohol, like a bar, club, or restaurant. Dram shop laws prohibit drinking establishments from serving alcohol to individuals who are already dangerously intoxicated.
In Santa Fe, New Mexico, Statute §41-11-1 governs bar liability for alcohol injuries. New Mexico Statute Section 41-11-1 is also called the Dram Shop Liability Act. The Act allows third parties injured by intoxicated customers to sue the drinking establishment where the intoxicated customer received alcohol. You may have a case to sue a bar if you are the victim of a drunk driving accident, depending on the circumstances.
Individuals who were injured while driving intoxicated are generally not able to sue under the Dram Shop Liability Act. The Act states that no one can recover for damages they created themselves while intoxicated unless the drinking establishment “acted with gross negligence and reckless disregard for the safety of the person” who purchased or was served the alcohol. The Dram Shop Liability Act focuses on bar liability for drunk driving victims, not those who caused the accident.
The Three Elements of Santa Fe Dram Shop Laws
The Dram Shop Liability Act states that it is possible to recover damages from a licensed drinking establishment if the drinking establishment:
1. Sold or served alcohol to an intoxicated person.
2. Should have reasonably known that the person buying or receiving service of alcoholic beverages was intoxicated.
3. Knew from the circumstances that the individual was intoxicated when he or she purchased the beverages.
The circumstances of the situation may indicate that someone was intoxicated even if their behavior was not overtly altered from how it would be normally. For example, if someone ordered and consumed a large volume of strong alcoholic drinks in a short time period, the circumstances would indicate that that individual was likely intoxicated, even if they did not act drunk, simply because anyone who drinks many strong alcoholic beverages in a short time is likely intoxicated.
Intoxication is also defined in the statute to mean “the impairment of a person’s mental and physical faculties as a result of alcoholic beverage use” to the point where the individual is unable to react in the same way a sober person would because his senses are diminished.
The Santa Fe drunk driving accident attorneys at Zinda Law Group are well-equipped to handle cases involving bar liability for drunk driving. We can help you determine if your situation applies to the elements of the Dram Shop Liability Act.
Bar Liability For Drunk Driving Accidents Involving Multiple Drinking Establishments
Often, it is common for someone to go to more than one drinking establishment over the course of one night. Someone may start out at one bar, drink a few drinks, and then visit a second bar and consume more. The employees at the second bar may not know that the customer has already consumed more drinks that night than they are serving him.
In these cases, the law states that “No [drinking establishment] is chargeable with knowledge of previous acts by which a person becomes intoxicated at other locations unknown to the [establishment].”
Of course, this does not mean that it is impossible to recover damages from a dram shop case in which an intoxicated individual visits more than one drinking establishment. If the individual’s intoxication is visible through his behavior, the drinking establishment could still face liability for serving him
What If the Intoxicated Driver Did Not Go to a Bar?
If you are injured by an intoxicated individual after they were provided alcohol by a licensed drinking establishment, you may have a case for a dram shop lawsuit. However, some people are injured in alcohol-related accidents after an intoxicated individual consumes alcohol outside of a licensed drinking establishment setting, for example, at a party or other social gathering.
The Dram Shop Liability Act does not apply to this kind of accident. It is governed by the concept of social host liability. Although both dram shop liability and social host liability deal with the responsibility a provider of alcohol might bear for the actions of an intoxicated person, dram shop liability only applies to licensed drinking establishments.
Social host liability applies to those who are not licensed to sell alcohol, but provide it to others socially. The most common example of a social host would be an individual throwing a party and providing alcoholic beverages there.
While the Dram Shop Liability Act is specific about how a drinking establishment could incur liability for serving an apparently intoxicated individual, New Mexico Statute Section 41-11-1(d) treats social hosts differently. It states that social hosts are not responsible for the actions of their intoxicated guests unless in providing the alcohol the host acted “recklessly in disregard of the rights of others, including the social guest.”
To recover from a social host for the actions of their intoxicated guest, you would have to prove that their providing alcohol to their guest was reckless and disregarded the rights of others, a different standard from dram shop liability. Talking to a lawyer is the best way to figure out what is the best course of legal action depending on the circumstances of your accident. Our Santa Fe dram shop lawyers will be able to help you figure out the best option for your situation.
Damages in a Santa Fe Dram Shop Lawsuit
When suing a drinking establishment under dram shop laws, there is more of a chance for successful recovery than when suing an individual. This is because a drinking establishment is a business, which is likely to be more thoroughly insured than any one individual. If an individual is not insured and does not have meaningful assets, it may be difficult or impossible for someone to recover compensation even if they win their lawsuit.
In Santa Fe dram shop liability cases, New Mexico Statute Section 41 sets limits on the amount it is possible to recover. The limits are:
1. A maximum of $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person
2. A maximum of $100,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more persons
In cases where property damage, not bodily injury or death, is the issue, the limit is $20,000 “for property damage in each transaction or occurrence.”
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced Santa Fe dram shop lawyers will assist you in pursuing the maximum possible settlement for your situation. We are passionate about defending your rights and helping you in the best way we know how.
Get Help from Santa Fe Dram Shop Lawyers
After a serious accident, it can feel like you are on your own in trying to figure out medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other circumstances related to the accident—never mind trying to get justice for the damages you’ve suffered. The process can be a complicated, long, and difficult. But getting justice doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t have to try on your own.
The Santa Fe dram shop lawyers at Zinda Law Group have extensive experience in providing counsel to drunk driving accident victims. We have the resources and the expertise to help you achieve the settlement you deserve for the injuries you’ve suffered.
At Zinda Law Group, We Treat Our Clients the Way We Want to Be Treated
Zinda Law Group operates on a contingency fee basis. You deserve access to high-quality legal representation regardless of your circumstances. That is why you won’t pay anything unless we achieve a favorable verdict or settlement in your case, as we have in thousands of previous cases. This is our “No Win, No Fee Guarantee.”
Thanks to Zinda Law Group’s experience with dram shop liability cases and the Santa Fe court system, speaking to our team may set you on the path to the best possible settlement. Call (800) 863-5312 today for a free consultation with one of our dram shop attorneys.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.