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Holding businesses and hosts liable for drunk driving accidents

Were you recently in an accident caused by a negligent and intoxicated driver? If so, you may be eligible for compensation beyond a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. Some states, including North Carolina, give you the opportunity to sue a third party that sold or gave alcohol to the driver in question.

The laws allowing these claims are often referred to as dram shop laws. In this blog post, we will look at third party liability for alcohol-related accidents in North Carolina.

Vendor liability in North Carolina

North Carolina considers alcohol vendors liable for an accident if they negligently serve or sell alcohol to a minor and the accident is directly caused by the intoxication from the alcoholic beverages. Other states consider businesses liable regardless of age, but in North Carolina, it must involve negligence in serving someone under 21 years of age. 

Social host liability in North Carolina

Private hosts may be liable for serving alcohol at social events in certain circumstances. There is court precedent for civil liability of party hosts. Unlike the dram shop laws, this includes simply providing guests with alcohol instead of selling. It also includes all guests regardless of age. A host is liable if he or she knew the guest would be driving after drinking the alcohol.

Compensation available

In a dram shop claim, you can recover up to $500,000 per accident. No more than this amount may be claimed regardless of the number of people who suffered injuries. A social host liability or dram shop claim must be filed within the statute of limitations, which is within three years of the injury in most circumstances.

Getting into a drunk driving accident is a scary and life-altering experience. You deserve as much compensation as possible for your injuries. If the driver was served or provided alcohol, it is worth looking into whether you can file a claim against the vendor or host. Talk to a personal injury attorney about your options.


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