Arkansas has strict laws related to alcohol. These restrictions include the responsibility of a bar or restaurant not to over-serve customers who are clearly intoxicated. This is known as a dram shop law (a dram is a unit of measurement for alcohol). It may also be referred to as establishment liability.
If you or your family member sustained injuries or experienced a loss of life by a drunk driver, the establishment that over-served the driver might be liable for your injuries. Discussing your claim with an Arkansas civil suit lawyer will help you understand when to include a third party in your drunk driving liability claim.
There is compensation available for filing a third-party claim under Arkansas dram shop laws. However, the claims process is a little different from that of a traditional accident injury claim.
While your Arkansas civil suit lawyer will advise you of your options, your case may be able to receive an out-of-court settlement or a civil court award based on the negligence that an alcohol establishment exhibited by over-serving customers who were dangerously intoxicated.
What is the Arkansas Dram Shop Law?
The Arkansas dram shop law allows injury victims to sue third-party alcohol sellers that over-served customers who caused an injury to another party after leaving. This law is in contrast to other states with personal injury laws that release all liability from the bar or restaurant.
If a visibly drunk person is served alcohol and later causes an accident, the dram shop law decrees that the negligent business has some of the legal liability for the injuries caused. The law is not just limited to car accidents: it covers anyone who causes an injury after leaving the business.
For the Arkansas dram shop law to apply, claimants must prove that the establishment knowingly:
- Sold to a minor, or
- Sold to a clearly intoxicated person
The term clearly intoxicated means that an individual is so visibly drunk that they could present a danger to others. Your Arkansas civil suit lawyer may demonstrate additional circumstances to prove that the seller should have reasonably known not to continue serving alcohol.
What Compensation Can You Get from a Third-Party Drunk Driving Liability Claim in Arkansas?
Under Arkansas personal injury law, you have the right to file a compensation claim if you or your family member were injured in a car accident caused by an over-served drunk driver. If a loved one’s injuries caused his or her death, survivors can pursue compensation for their emotional and future losses.
In general, your Arkansas civil suit lawyer may request the following types of compensation based on your situation:
- Current and future medical costs
- Psychological, physical, and occupational therapy
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Punitive damages
- Property damages
- Other claims, as allowable by law
Hiring an Arkansas personal injury lawyer will help you understand the claims process. Typically, it starts by appealing your insurance company’s denial of benefits.
If you do not receive a fair and equitable settlement offer for your losses, your Arkansas civil suit lawyer may advise you that filing a petition in court is the most advantageous approach for your situation.
Will the Insurance Company Pay for Establishment Liability?
An insurance claim alone will not provide you with compensation through Arkansas dram shop laws. Under most policies, the insurance provider will only provide coverage for driver error, not those of the alcohol establishment or seller. Therefore, you will have to file a compensation claim against the retailer. Your Arkansas civil suit lawyer will give you legal advice regarding this aspect since it introduces a new element into your case.
You might be able to file a separate insurance settlement with the seller’s insurance company. However, you may also have to take them to court if they do not provide compensation for your actionable losses.
Contact an Arkansas Civil Suit Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you have questions regarding the best time to file a third-party liability claim under Arkansas dram shop laws, you should speak with an Arkansas civil suit lawyer as soon as possible. There are statutory deadlines that exist on your claim’s timeline, meaning you could forgo your compensation if it is not filed in a timely manner.
We invite you to contact Milligan Law Offices for a free consultation to learn more about your legal options. Request yours today by calling (479) 783-2213 or submitting a message through our private contact form.