There are multiple potential parties who may bear responsibility for injuries arising out of a motor vehicle accident caused by an individual operating under the influence of alcohol. First and foremost, the intoxicated driver will have liability for such damages. However, further investigation should be conducted to determine where that driver was served and/or consumed alcohol.
Massachusetts law is clear that a bar or restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages to one whom they knew or should have known to be intoxicated may be liable for subsequent harm caused to others by the intoxicated patron. Investigation must be undertaken to determine not only where the driver was served but also how many drinks were served andwhether any drinks were served at a time when the bartender or waitperson knew or should have known that the patron was intoxicated.
While the number of drinks served and consumed by a patron may be sufficient to prove that the service person knew or should have known that the patron was intoxicated, evidence that the patron was exhibiting signs of intoxication may be even more compelling proof. Credit card receipts can provide information as to the number of drinks consumed but evidence of the patron’s behavior can be bit more difficult to obtain. Locating and interviewing other patrons, including companions of the drunk driver, can make the difference in proving that the establishment that served the alcohol bears some liability for the accident and resulting injuries.