Injured in a drunk driving accident in West Virginia? Dram shop liability may allow you to pursue compensation from the licensed establishment that served alcohol to the drunk driver.
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Were you or a loved one injured in a drunk driving accident? West Virginia's dram shop act may be able to help. After a severe car crash, it's only reasonable to begin thinking about filing a lawsuit for financial damages. But most of us only think we can sue the direct responsible party, the drunk driver who hit us.
How To File A West Virginia Dram Shop Claim
That's a mistake. In West Virginia, DUI accident victims have a second option, in addition to filing suit against the drunk driver. West Virginia's powerful dram shop law allows injury victims to pursue additional compensation from the licensed establishment (bar, restaurant, nightclub or liquor store) who provided the drunk driver with alcohol.
When Does Dram Shop Liability Apply?
In reality, West Virginia doesn't have its own dram shop law on the books, but the State's court system has recognized dram shop liability for decades. Unlike most states, however, it doesn't explicitly apply to serving alcohol to minors (people under the age of 21).
Instead, dram shop liability in West Virginia is reserved for cases in which a licensed establishment served alcohol to someone who is already "physically incapacitated" by drinking. If the intoxicated patron goes on to cause a severe accident, the establishment can be held liable for over-serving the individual prior to the crash.
No Social Host Liability
In general, the same form of liability is not reserved for social hosts, people who provide alcohol at private parties. Social hosts, in the vast majority of cases, cannot be held accountable for over-serving adult guests.
2-Year Statute Of Limitations
Like every other form of civil lawsuit, dram shop claims are governed 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 in West Virginia for dram shop lawsuits is 2 years, beginning on the date of injury.