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Bars and Restaurants Can Be Found Liable In Atlanta Drunk Driving Cases

Drunk driving accidents are one of the greatest dangers facing Georgia drivers. Drunk driving deaths account for about 1/3 of all car accident fatalities each year in the US, totaling almost 12,000 deaths in 2010 alone.

For Atlanta DUI victims, there are a number of ways that damages can be recovered to pay for injuries, medical bills, missed work, emotional suffering or cases of wrongful death. One of the most common ways that compensation can be recovered is through "dram shop" liabilities.

Dram shop liabilities can be applied to bars, restaurants and clubs who continue to serve alcohol to patrons that are already visibly intoxicated. For example, a bar can be found partially responsible if a patron comes in and drinks until he or she is blackout drunk, then gets behind the wheel and kills another person in a car accident.

Under Georgia dram shop laws, the cases where these venues can be held legally responsible are rare. This is because it is unrealistic to expect a bartender to take full account of a patron's alcohol intake. Patrons must be visibly and obviously intoxicated when they're served in order for the business to be held responsible.

Proving dram shop liability involves clear evidence of a number of certainties. In addition to a witness to verify the level of intoxication, as well as police and toxicology reports from the accident, there must also be proof that:

  • The venue knew, or should have known, that their customer was intoxicated
  • The intoxication led directly to a drunk driving accident that injured or killed another person


Assessing dram shop liability is a technical and extremely detailed legal process. If a drunk driver has hurt you or someone you love, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible.

For more information about filing an Altanta drunk driving injury case, speak with an attorney at the Law Offices of Shane Smith. Call for your free consultation today by calling (770) HURT-999 or by filling out the form on this page.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia