Fatal drunk driving accidents traumatize entire families and communities. Not only is every single DUI accident entirely preventable, but various parties often have the opportunity to intervene before an intoxicated person gets behind the wheel of a car. Georgia state legislation recognizes the role that some business owners and proprietors play in fatal drunk driving collisions, and allows for wrongful death claimants to pursue dram shop liability allegations in some cases.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Georgia is one of 30 states with statutory provisions allowing for licensed establishments to be held liable for serving or selling alcohol to people who cause injury or death as a result of their intoxicated conduct. Still, the Georgia General Assembly notes that the intoxicated person should be held primarily liable for injuries in most cases.
Dram shop liability exists under several circumstances, including in cases where a proprietor serves, furnishes or sells alcohol to an individual who is noticeably intoxicated and causes injury or damage to another person. A proprietor or business owner can also be held liable in cases where he or she knowingly, willfully and illegally provides alcohol to a person who is driving under the age of 21.
In instances where a person consumes alcohol without the permission of the property owner or occupant, dram shop liability does not apply if the premises in question is not licensed for the sale of alcohol. Beyond that, proprietors and property owners cannot be held responsible in cases where underage drinkers provided a fake ID at the time of being sold or served alcohol.