Colorado Dram Shop Law

  • February 24, 2015

Suing Colorado Bar Owners in Denver DUI Injury Cases

Drink with MoneyAccording to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, there were 133 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in Colorado in 2012, 19 of which involved persons under the age of 21.  That same year, there were approximately 26,000 DUI arrests in Colorado.

Any time that someone is injured or killed by a DUI driver, there is never a justification.  There is never anything that you can say to someone that makes it okay.  And to make matters worse, many times the at-fault DUI driver will have little assets and no insurance.

So, who does a DUI injury victim go after when she’s been injured in a DUI accident and the DUI driver doesn’t have any money or insurance?  The next logical step is to sue the bar that served the DUI driver.  However, under Colorado law, a DUI injury victim only sue a bar owner or a “vendor of alcoholic beverages” in very limited circumstances.  This is why you should always hire a Denver personal injury lawyer when you’re dealing with personal injury cases and DUI drivers.

Under Colorado’s dram shop law, a plaintiff not only has to prove her damages, but she has to prove that the bar she is suing willfully and knowingly sold or served alcohol to a person who was under the age of twenty-one years or to someone who was visibly intoxicated.  A DUI injury victim must file her lawsuit through her Denver injury lawyer within one year after such sale or service of alcohol to the DUI driver.  And if the DUI injury victim prevails in court, she can only recover $150,000 plus interest from the bar she’s suing.

Colorado law makes it very difficult for a Denver personal injury attorney to prove that the bar tender was at fault.  The bar tender is never going to admit that (s)he willfully and knowingly served the DUI driver while he was visibly intoxicated.  Colorado law says that it’s not enough to sue if the bar only should have known that the DUI driver was intoxicated.  Your Denver personal injury attorney has to prove that the bar willfully and knowingly sold alcohol to a person who was visibly intoxicated (or under 21) before it can be held liable.

And while these cases are difficult, they aren’t impossible.  Your Denver personal injury lawyer can investigate the specific bar tender, determine whether she has broken the law in the past, and use this information to shore up a DUI injury victim’s claim.  He can investigate the bar and see if there have been any infractions regarding its liquor license.  He can have his investigative staff talk to patrons and other staff that were at the bar the same night as the DUI driver.  He can even subpoena video surveillance if it exists to try and verify what happened.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a DUI driver and you’re trying to sue a bar owner in Colorado, contact Denver personal injury attorney Jeffry Dougan today and set up your FREE DUI personal injury case evaluation.  Time is of the essence.

Related:Denver DUI Attorney Personal Injury, Wrongful Death Claims, Car Accident Tips

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