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Some victims may be eligible to file a dram shop lawsuit and pursue significant financial damages. Learn more in a free consultation today.
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Were you or a loved one injured in a North Carolina DUI accident? Our dedicated legal team can help. After a serious accident, it's not unnatural to begin thinking about pursuing financial compensation. In that regard, most of us only consider filing a lawsuit against the directly responsible party, the drunk driver who hit you.
How To File A Dram Shop Lawsuit In North Carolina
In reality, North Carolina's dram shop law may offer another option. In some cases, bars, restaurants and nightclubs can be held accountable for having served a drunk driver alcohol in the first place.
These dram shop lawsuits must be based on a violation of North Carolina's dram shop law. Dram shop liability in North Carolina is fairly narrow; it only applies to cases in which a licensed establishment serves a minor alcohol in a negligent manner. If the intoxicated minor goes on to cause a car accident, the establishment can be held accountable in court for financial compensation.
The dram shop law does not apply to bar fights or other alcohol-related accidents. In North Carolina, a dram shop lawsuit can only be filed after a drunk driving car accident. Nor does it apply to intoxicated adults. Licensed establishments cannot be held accountable for the drunken actions of an adult, however much they were allowed to drink.
Social Host Liability Case Law
Dram shop liability may even extend to cover social hosts, people who hold private parties and serve alcohol. While it's not mentioned in the dram shop act, a series of court cases have established that social hosts can be held accountable for serving alcohol to adults who are already intoxicated.
If the adult goes on to cause a severe accident, the social host may be held liable for compensation to victims. As North Carolina case law has established, this cause of action covers cases involving all manner of social guests, not just minors.
$500,000 Damages Cap
North Carolina law expressly limits the amount of compensation available in a dram shop claim to $500,000.
3-Year Statute Of Limitations
Like all other types of lawsuits, dram shop lawsuits are controlled by a strict statute of limitations. This law serves as a legal time limit, restricting the amount of time injury victims and their families have to file suit. The statute of limitations for a dram shop claim in North Carolina is currently 3 years, beginning on the date of the accident or injury.