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Despite widespread awareness campaigns and harsh criminal penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol, drunk driving is still one of the biggest risks to motorists in Philadelphia, PA. If a driver is reckless or careless enough to get behind the wheel while they are impaired, they have a far greater risk of causing a serious accident and devastating damage to other people involved.

Civil cases based on car crashes caused by a drunk driver need to be handled with care and conviction, which is why retaining experienced Philadelphia Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyers could be beneficial.

Being hit by a drunk driver in Philadelphia may change your tort status giving you full tort, meaning the best rights to recover for pain and suffering. If you suffered an injury due to an intoxicated driver, consider talking to our Philadelphia drunk driving car accident lawyers about how you could potentially proceed with civil litigation to seek restitution for your damages.

How Could a Criminal Charge Affect a Civil Case?

In Pennsylvania, anyone who operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater may be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Depending on a person’s BAC at the time of arrest, any previous record of DUI offenses, and other aggravating factors, punishments upon conviction may range from fines and probation to several years’ imprisonment and permanent loss of their license.

If a driver involved in an accident is cited for DUI in the aftermath, a Philadelphia drunk driving car crash attorney could cite the police report or a criminal conviction for that offense as evidence of negligence in an ensuing civil case. Since all drivers in Pennsylvania are expected to act reasonably and safely while driving on public roads, driving while intoxicated would constitute a negligent breach of that duty if it results in a catastrophic accident. A conviction or a diversionary program for a DUI driver is an automatic exception to your tort election in Pennsylvania, meaning you will be deemed full tort if the person is convicted or enters a diversionary program. Additionally, a DUI driver may be liable for punitive damages due to their actions in relation to your car crash – all aspects that a Philadelphia car accident lawyer will evaluate on your behalf.

While a civil defendant may be found liable based on overwhelming evidence, the standard of proof for criminal cases is considerably stricter. In practice, this means that regardless of what order the cases occur in, a finding of civil liability in a DUI car accident claim typically has no bearing on the outcome of a criminal case for a DUI charge.

Recovering Losses After a DUI Crash

Philadelphia is a no-fault car insurance state, which means that in order to recover for damages following a vehicle crash, a claimant must first pursue recovery through their own insurer to the fullest extent their coverage allows before they can file suit against a third party. Unfortunately, this means that unless certain circumstances apply, people injured in car accidents caused by drunk drivers can only seek restitution for economic damages like medical bills and lost wages, and not non-economic damages like loss of consortium and physical pain.

Furthermore, Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 42, §7102 allows a court to proportionately reduce a plaintiff’s total recoverable compensation if they are found partially at fault for their injuries, even if a drunk driver bears most of the fault for the accident. Once retained, a qualified DUI car crash attorney in Philadelphia could work on a claimant's behalf to contest allegations of comparative fault and maximize recoverable damages.

Millions of people consume alcoholic beverages at bars, clubs, and restaurants every day. These businesses are responsible for making sure that their customers are of legal age prior to serving them alcohol. But, what happens when the customer walks out of the establishment after consuming alcohol?

Some people believe that bars, clubs, and restaurants are no longer responsible for their customers after they’ve left, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, these businesses can be held liable for injuries caused by an intoxicated customer even after the customer is gone.

If you have been injured in an accident with an intoxicated individual, contact our Philadelphia Dram Shop Lawyers at once to discuss your legal options.

What Are Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Laws?

Each state has its own dram shop laws, which outline the responsibilities and legal obligations of bars, restaurants, and other businesses that serve alcohol. The dram shop liability laws in Pennsylvania state that any establishment that serves alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated can be held liable for damage caused by the intoxicated individual.

For example, let’s say a bar continues to serve alcohol to someone who has already had a lot to drink. The customer is slurring his speech and struggling to walk in a straight line, which are both signs that he is intoxicated.

Then, this person gets into a car accident on his way home and seriously injures the other driver involved. Since the bar served alcohol to the driver after he was visibly intoxicated, the business could be held liable if the victim files a personal injury claim.

Do Dram Shop Laws Protect Social Hosts in Philadelphia?

Bars, clubs, and restaurants are not the only parties that could be affected by dram shop laws. These laws also apply to people who host private parties where alcohol is served.

For example, if someone hosts a private dinner party for close friends and family, he cannot serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated. If he does, he is liable for injuries or damages that the intoxicated party causes.

Basically, social hosts and business establishments share the same legal obligations and liabilities when it comes to serving alcohol to guests or customers.

How Dram Shop Laws Can Affect Your Personal Injury Case

Dram shop and social host liability laws often come into play in personal injury cases involving drunk driving accidents. If you are injured in an accident with a drunk driver, one of the first steps is identifying the liable parties.

The drunk driver will most likely be held liable since driving while intoxicated is negligent. If the drunk driver was served alcohol while visibly intoxicated prior to getting in the accident, an establishment or social host could be held liable in your case as well.

Why does it matter who is liable for your injuries? Bars, restaurants, and clubs usually have better insurance coverage than the average driver since they have more to lose.

As a result, it’s possible that you will be able to recover more compensation from one of these establishments than you would be able to recover from the at-fault driver. Treating the injuries that are often sustained in accidents involving intoxication is not cheap, so it’s crucial to recover as much compensation as possible.

It’s true that victims can potentially recover more compensation when an establishment is partially at fault. However, an establishment or social host will not be held liable in every drunk driving accident case. Let our team review the details of your case to determine who should be held liable for your devastating injuries.

Have you been injured by someone who was under the influence of alcohol? If so, it’s in your best interest to contact a skilled personal injury attorney at KaplunMarx as soon as possible.

Speak with Our Philadelphia Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyers Today

Suffering injuries and financial losses due to a drunk driver can be frustrating and scary. Fortunately, legal counsel is available to help you enforce your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Talking to our Philadelphia Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyers could clarify your legal options for you and put you on the right path toward recovering fully from your accident. Call today to set up an initial meeting.

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