The holiday season is filled with festivities and merriment as we celebrate the season with family and friends. Unfortunately, drinking and driving can also be a part of the holiday season as party-goers overindulge.
If an individual causes an accident and is intoxicated, it is no surprise that in addition to potential criminal charges, individuals injured as a result this negligence can also file civil charges. This might cause the host of the party that provided the alcohol to wonder if they are also at fault.
This type of claim is often called a “dram shop” claim. It received this moniker because alcohol used to be sold in a unit of measurement called a dram. Many states, including Wisconsin, limit this type of liability. Wisconsin Statutes section 125.035 notes that “a person is immune from civil liability arising out of the act of procuring alcohol beverages for or selling, dispensing or giving away alcohol beverages to another person.” This statute covers both establishments that serve alcohol as well as individuals who provide alcohol to guests in their home.
There are two notable exceptions to this law. These include:
- The intoxicated party is forced to ingest alcohol or they are told the beverage is alcohol-free when it is not (the host/vendor deceives them into thinking this)
- Alcohol is served to a minor and is shown to have played a substantial role in the resulting accident and injury.
This means that if an individual of legal drinking age knowingly consumes alcohol and causes an injury, they are the only person who can be found liable in a personal injury claim.
If you are injured
If you are the victim in a OWI incident or sustain another injury as a result of an intoxicated individual’s negligence, you most likely have just cause to file a personal injury claim and could receive compensation for the following conditions:
- Medical bills as a result of the injury
- Property damage because of the accident
- Pain and suffering