DUI Deaths Lead to Questions Concerning Bars’ Liability

When a person drives while they are intoxicated and this results in the serious injury or even death of another person, this rises many questions and concerns about how is responsible for this injury or death. In a tragic recent case in Tennessee, twenty-two year old Rebecca Benson got in her car early on February 22nd, 2012, and headed south in the northbound lanes of Interstate 65. Police believe Benson was intoxicated when she collided with Steffanie Leonard, who was twenty-nine. Leonard died and Benson has been charged with vehicular homicide. The police also state that anyone who sold alcohol to Benson could face legal problems as well.

he Nashville police department stated that where Benson was before the crash is important to the investigation. According to the Nashville police department bar liability laws vary from state to state. In twenty-one states and the District of Columbia vendors can be held liable when adults become intoxicated. In fourteen other states they cannot be held liable. In Tennessee, the laws fall in the middle having limited vendor liability for adults becoming intoxicated. According to this case, Tennessee “puts most of the responsibility on the individual for their behavior, but a bar, restaurant or convenience store can be held liable and have been in the past,” There’s two exceptions. One is when a minor is served alcohol and that minor causes personal injury or death, and the other one is when you sell alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person and that person causes injury or death.”

Tennessee’s alcohol-serving laws faced more litigation before the state passed new dram shop laws in the 1980s. These laws presumed that the person consuming alcohol is at fault, not those who sold the alcohol. These more lenient laws were passed because bar and restaurant owners struggled to pay for or get liquor liability insurance.

Cases just like this one happen all across the country and to Tennessee residents all too often. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured or died due to a person driving while intoxicated, then we strongly encourage you to contact one of our experienced and compassionate Tennessee personal injury attorneys immediately. We care about our clients and will work with you to see to it that you get the compensation you need for what you have suffered.

Contact us online or call us at 800.705.2121 to set up a FREE consultation to discuss your legal options.

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