Driver Impairment - Alcohol
According to the Center for Disease Control, thousands of people suffer harm due to alcohol-related car accidents each year. Drivers are required to operate vehicles responsibly, but consuming alcohol prior to driving undoubtedly increases the risk of causing harm due to an accident. Car accidents caused by drunk driving are often devastating, resulting in serious financial losses and injuries. If you suffered injuries or the loss of a loved one due to an alcohol-related car accident, you should consult an experienced car accident attorney to discuss the pursuit of damages from the parties responsible for the accident. At Peter Thompson and Associates, our New Hampshire car accident lawyers have more than 60 years of collective experience representing victims injured by drivers impaired due to alcohol.Liability for Drivers Impaired Due to the Consumption of Alcohol
In New Hampshire, it is illegal for a driver to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. In addition to criminal penalties, drivers who operate vehicles with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher can face civil liability for any harm sustained in an accident caused by their consumption of alcohol. Furthermore, while a driver may not face criminal penalties for a blood alcohol content below .08, he or she may still be found liable in a civil case if it is shown that he or she was nonetheless impaired due to the consumption of alcohol.
As in many car accident cases, lawsuits to pursue damages caused by alcohol-related crashes usually set forth negligence claims. To recover in a negligence claim against a driver who caused an accident, you must first show that the driver owed you a duty. In car accident cases, the driver’s duty is to drive reasonably and safely under the circumstances present at the time of the accident. You must then show that the driver breached the duty and that the breach caused the accident. Virtually everyone would agree that a driver breaches the duty to drive safely by operating a car in an alcohol-impaired state. Lastly, you must show that the accident caused any harm that you suffered.Dram Shop Liability
If you were injured in an accident caused by the consumption of alcohol, in addition to recovering damages from the impaired driver, you may be able to recover damages from the bar or restaurant that served the driver alcohol. Under New Hampshire law, any business licensed to sell alcohol can be held liable for damages caused by serving a person who is intoxicated, if a reasonable person in similar circumstances would be aware that the person is intoxicated.
The burden imposed on businesses that serve alcohol is to recognize signs of intoxication normally associated with the consumption of alcohol. In many cases, determining whether a person exhibited signs of intoxication depends on circumstantial evidence of how much alcohol the person drank in a certain time frame, his or her regular drinking habits, and how the amount of alcohol that the person consumed would typically affect a person of his or her size. In some cases, your attorney may need to retain a toxicologist to offer an opinion as to whether a person with the driver’s blood alcohol level would typically exhibit signs of intoxication. A car accident attorney can gather evidence in discovery to support an argument that the bar that served the impaired driver should be held liable for harm suffered in the accident.Get Advice from a Car Accident Attorney on Your Legal Options
Drivers who operate vehicles in an alcohol-impaired state knowingly place other people in harm’s way and should be held responsible for any damages that they cause. If you were injured in a car accident caused by an alcohol-impaired driver, you should consult an experienced car accident attorney to help you develop a strategy to seek compensation. At Peter Thompson and Associates, we have the knowledge and experience needed to obtain favorable verdicts, and we have a history of successful results in New Hampshire car accident cases. We have offices in Bedford, Nashua, Portsmouth, and Manchester, New Hampshire, and we assist injured parties throughout the state. Contact us at 800.804.2004 or via our online form to schedule a free consultation.