Were you or a loved one injured in a drunk driving accident in Montana? You may be eligible to file a dram shop lawsuit.
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Injured in a DUI accident in Montana? You may be eligible to secure significant financial compensation. After a severe car accident, it's only reasonable to begin thinking about filing a lawsuit. But most of us only think about suing the driver responsible for the crash. In actuality, you may have another option.
Filing A Dram Shop Lawsuit
Montana's dram shop law allows injury victims to hold licensed establishments (like bars and nightclubs) accountable for violating the State's strong liquor laws. If a drunken patron goes on to cause a DUI accident, for example, the bar or restaurant that served the alcohol can be held accountable, if the licensed establishment violated one of Montana's liquor provisions in serving the patron.
Violations Of Montana's Dram Shop Act
Dram shop lawsuits are based in violations of the dram shop act. The law notes three possible violations:
- serving someone who is a minor (under the age of 21), if the licensed establishment knew or should have known that the patron was a minor
- serving a patron who is already "visibly intoxicated"
- the patron was forced or coerced into drinking alcohol
Any one of these three violations can serve as the basis for a dram shop lawsuit, in the event that the patron goes on to cause a drunk driving accident, starts a fight or causes another alcohol-related accident.
Social Host Liability
Dram shop liability in Montana extends to cover any one who serves or furnishes alcohol, including social hosts. People who serve alcohol at private parties can be held accountable under the dram shop act, if they allow a minor to drink or force someone to drink alcohol agains their will. However, social hosts cannot be held liable for allowing someone who is already visibly intoxicated to continue drinking.
Statute Of Limitations
Like every other type of civil lawsuit, dram shop claims in Montana are governed by a rigorous statute of limitations. This law serves as a legal time limit, restricting the amount of time injury victims and their loved ones have to file suit. Choose to file your lawsuit after the statute has run its course and your case will be dismissed. The statute of limitations for dram shop lawsuits in Montana is currently 3 years, beginning on the date of injury.