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Can Arizona Restaurants Be Held Responsible for a Drunk Driving Accident Injury?

Posted on February 23, 2022 in

Drunk driving is one of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents. A drunk driver and the drivers in the other cars involved in the collision are at significant risk of severe and fatal injuries. When intoxicated individuals get behind the wheel, it makes the road dangerous, not just for themselves but also for every other motor vehicle near them.

While drunk drivers should be held responsible for the accident they caused, a restaurant in Arizona that served the individual alcohol may also be liable. When bars and restaurants over-serve someone, the risk of that person getting behind the wheel and causing an accident grows exponentially. Restaurants who knowingly over-serve someone may share blame for the accident, and victims may be eligible to collect compensation for the negligent business owners through a dram shop lawsuit.

Understanding Arizona Dram Shop Laws

Arizona’s dram shop laws are stated in the Arizona Revised Statutes 4-311. The states that businesses that have a liquor license may be held liable for property damage, personal injuries, and wrongful death if the following circumstances are met:

  • The business knowingly sold alcohol to a patron obviously intoxicated
  • The business served alcohol to a patron under the age of twenty-one
  • The patron drank the alcohol they purchased
  • The consumption of alcohol they bought from the business was a proximate cause of subsequent property damage, bodily harm, or death

Dram shop law also stipulates that a business is not liable for a person who became intoxicated at another location before being served at their establishment unless the person was visibly intoxicated. Arizona Revised Statutes 4-311 defines obviously intoxicated as “inebriated to such an extent that a person’s physical faculties are substantially impaired, and the impairment is shown by significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction that would have been obvious to a reasonable person.”

Why Are Restaurants in Arizona Responsible for Injuries Caused by Drunk Drivers?

Dram shop laws are in place because the restaurant is in the best position and has the necessary training to determine if a customer is drunk. The establishment makes money when a customer continuously buys drinks, so the law ensures that restaurants and bars do not have an incentive to over-serve people. Therefore, they can serve alcohol to patrons but must take responsibility for ensuring the general public’s safety by cutting intoxicated people off and preventing them from driving home.

Are Drunk Drivers Still Responsible for the Accident?

Under Arizona law, a drunk driver is responsible for injuries they may have caused while intoxicated. While the drunk driver is the one who caused the collision, the law recognizes how difficult it is for people to understand they are drunk and make appropriate decisions while drunk. This is why the restaurant is responsible for the drunk driver’s conduct if the person exhibits signs of intoxication.

Jensen Phelan Law Firm Is Here to Help with Your Car Accident Claim

Jensen Phelan Law Firm is proud to have experienced and reliable personal injury attorneys passionate about helping injured victims recover the fair and full compensation owed to them. When you’re injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver and the restaurant’s negligence, you need quality representation to help ensure you recover your claim’s maximum value.

At Jensen Phelan Law Firm, we specialize in personal injury claims and know how to build a strong claim to help ensure insurance companies cannot dismiss your cases or argue settlements lower than the actual value of your claim. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling (928) 778-2660 or filling out our contact form.