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Third-Party Liability Claims in Oklahoma Drunk Driving Accidents

Third-Party Liability Claims in Oklahoma Drunk Driving Accidents

According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, there were 1,988 alcohol-related traffic crashes in Oklahoma in 2015 (the most recent year available). Fifty-six of those crashes had fatal injuries, 96 had incapacitating injuries and 317 had non-incapacitating injuries. If you have sustained serious injuries in a car accident that was caused by a drunk driver, or if you lost a loved one in such a crash, you are likely looking to hold the drunk driver responsible for your losses. Did you know that there may be a third-party that could be partially responsible for your injuries and losses?

The following are a few examples of ways in which you might prove that a third-party is liable for the conduct of the at-fault drunk driver:

Dram shop liability and social host laws

In a dram shop liability case, the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit holds the bar, night club, restaurant or social host that over-served the at-fault patron who then proceeds to cause a drunk driving accident after leaving the establishment. Oklahoma does not have a specific dram shop statute, but you can still hold a bar or restaurant liable if it can be proven that:

  1. The person was served alcohol in the establishment
  2. The person was obviously intoxicated at the time he or she was served
  3. The person proceeds to drive while impaired
  4. There was an unreasonable risk of harm to other people caused by the person driving impaired

A decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Boyle v. ASAP Energy, Inc., also allows for liability if a retailer sells packaged goods “to a noticeably intoxicated adult for consumption off of the premises when the sale results in an injury to an innocent third party.”

Despite not having dram shop laws, Oklahoma does have laws in place for social host liability. If you are caught serving someone under the age of 21, you face a fine of $500. If a drunk driver leaves your property and hurts or kills another person, you may face felony charges. A conviction means up to $2,500 in fines and up to five years in prison.

Vicarious liability

If the drunk driver was on the clock performing work for his or her employer at the time of the crash, you may be able to hold the at-fault driver’s employer partially responsible for their employee’s negligence. Another instance where vicarious liability might apply would be when an individual allows a person who they know to be drunk to drive their vehicle. If the drunk person causes an accident, the owner of the vehicle may be held partially responsible for the injuries and other losses of those involved in the crash.

Proving third-party liability is complicated

Bringing a successful third-party liability case for personal injury or wrongful death is a complex matter. Your car accident attorney from the Stipe Law Firm knows how to investigate your accident and hold the responsible parties liable for your damages so that you can recover the most compensation for your losses.

The experienced Oklahoma car accident attorneys at Stipe Law can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you need. For a free consultation at our McAlester office, call {F:P:Site:Phone} or complete our contact form now. If you are too injured to travel, we will come to you.

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