If a drunk driver caused my accident, can I recover from the bar that served the driver?

Under North Carolina’s “dram shop” law, you may be able to sue the establishment that provided alcohol to the driver who injured you. However, these cases require a thorough investigation and careful handling.

Under the dram shop law, it is illegal for any bar, restaurant, convenience store, ABC store or “social host” to sell or otherwise furnish alcohol to a person who is “noticeably or visibly intoxicated” or to a person under the legal drinking age of 21. Establishing what the person or business knew (or should have reasonably known) can be complicated.

The mere fact that the person or business provided the alcohol, however, is not all it takes to establish liability. You would also need to show that the beer, wine or liquor caused the driver to become impaired, and that the driver’s impairment caused the crash and your injuries.

A lawyer who handles your car accident case would need to obtain and examine sales receipts, debit card records, surveillance video, witness accounts, social media postings and other evidence to establish dram shop or social host liability in your case.

See our section on Drunk Driving Accidents to learn more.