Dram Shop Attorneys

Tulsa Dram Shop Attorneys

Any establishment that serves alcohol to the public is responsible for ensuring the safety of their patrons. While most people expect a bar or restaurant to prevent alcohol-related injuries in the building, they may be surprised to know that the responsibility extends outside the business.

When a patron is allowed to drink to excess and leave the establishment, they become a safety risk to others. If they drive while intoxicated and cause a severe or fatal drunk driving accident, the restaurant or bar that over-served them can be held liable.

What is a Dram Shop Claim?

A dram shop claim is a type of personal injury case that holds businesses and private hosts responsible for drunk driving accidents.

In addition to filing a drunk driving car accident claim against the motorist, a claim can be made against the establishment responsible for supplying the alcohol in excess. Liable parties may include:

  • Bartenders and servers
  • Private hosts
  • Owners of an establishment that serves alcohol
Why Your Claim Should Be Handled by Experienced Dram Shop Attorneys

Dram shop attorneys have years of experience handling complex injury claims. When a drunk driving accident causes substantial harm, the financial stakes are significantly higher:

  • Permanent or catastrophic injuries (e.g., traumatic brain injury, paralysis)
  • The loss of a loved one

When a drunk driver is underinsured, accident victims may be unable to recover the full damages they deserve. Without adequate compensation, individuals and families may experience lasting financial hardship.

According to a study that examines the economic implications of serious injuries and medical debt, 1 in 8 households suffers excessive financial burdens. Medical costs were primarily due to:

  • Prescription medications
  • Inpatient medical costs

Medical expenses often equated to 40% or more of the annual household income. When faced with catastrophic medical costs, it is imperative to seek the help of a dram shop lawyer in Tulsa.

What Remedies Are Available in a Tulsa Dram Shop Claim?

Available remedies in a Tulsa dram shop claim can vary. An accident attorney will need to examine the details of the case, paying close attention to the severity of injuries.

If you have suffered serious or debilitating injuries in a drunk driving accident, you may be able to hold other parties liable in a dram shop claim, entitling you to recover the following damages.

Full Compensation for Medical Bills

Following a drunk driving accident, it is crucial to your claim to seek immediate medical attention. Serious injuries often require extensive medical treatment. Medical expenses can add up fast.

Medical bills may include:

  • Ambulance
  • Surgery
  • Hospital stay
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • In-home services (e.g., continuing physical or occupational therapy, wound care)

A dram shop attorney can adequately evaluate your future medical care costs, so you receive your full compensation if you or your family suffer catastrophic injuries, or ongoing financial burden

Lost Income If You Are Unable to Work

Other economic burdens include the lost wages when you cannot work. Serious injuries generally require lengthy recuperation times. Injury victims may be entitled to recover the earnings lost while healing from their injuries, and may be able to recover loss of future earning potential damages.

Pain And Suffering Damages

Pain and suffering damages are intangible. It is very difficult for a healthy person to understand painful injuries if they have never experienced them before.

A lawyer, with assistance from economic and financial experts, will work hard to understand the full medical picture and how your injuries affect every aspect of your life. They can then present your case in such a way that an otherwise healthy person can relate.

Pain and suffering damages are typically assessed by considering:

  • Physical pain from the accident
  • Pain during the healing process
  • Painful treatments and other diagnostic tests
  • Pain during physical or occupational therapy
  • Psychological pain (e.g., insomnia, anxiety, depression)
Emotional Distress Damages

Damages for emotional distress are specific and challenging to assess. Often, a diagnosis from a mental health professional is needed.

Emotional distress damages may involve:

  • Clinical depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress, i.e., PTSD

While symptoms are similar to pain and suffering damages, emotional distress describes severe, prolonged mental and emotional pain.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

When an injured person cannot participate in the same activities or hobbies enjoyed before the injury, post-accident victims may qualify to recover loss of enjoyment of life damages, and also entitled to compensation.

Punitive Damages

Unlike other damages on the list above, punitive damages are awarded as a way to punish a grossly negligent party. Punitive damages are never calculated by the injuries suffered by the plaintiff.

Punitive damages serve to deter others from engaging in similar behavior. A drunk driving accident claim generally is awarded punitive damages. However, a dram shop claim may have to meet specific circumstances to qualify.

Are Drunk Driving Car Accidents Common in Oklahoma?

Drunk driving car accidents are a problem in Oklahoma. According to the National Drunk Driving Statistics Map, in the last reporting year:

  • 24.1% of traffic fatalities in Oklahoma are due to drunk drivers
  • 10.1% of those fatalities are due to underage drinkers
  • 10.6% of minors admit to binge drinking in the last month
  • 17.8% of 12 to 20 year old admit to drinking

More than 9,000 people admitted to drinking and driving on Oklahoma roads. As drunk driving fatalities continue to increase, civil litigation may be the best way to save future lives.

Do I Need to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

If you have lost a friend or family member in a fatal drunk driving accident, a wrongful death claim can help you attain justice on their behalf.

Losing a family member under tragic, preventable circumstances is devastating. Choosing whether or not to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against a drunk driver is a difficult and emotional choice. Many families agonize over the decision, wondering if filing a claim truly honors the deceased or will prevent others from driving under the influence.

If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim and have questions, our compassionate legal team can provide answers. Wrongful death cases are highly sensitive and emotionally charged. However, they are a necessary part of the justice system.

Holding drunk drivers accountable for their actions is essential. A drunk driving wrongful death claim can send a strong message to society, encourage policy changes, and prevent future deaths.

Even though financial compensation is not the ultimate goal, and cannot change the fact that an accident happened, any monetary damages can serve to ease unexpected financial burdens, including:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical bills and costs
  • Loss of future income
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering
  • Possible punitive damages
How Can Tavern and Restaurant Owners Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents in Tulsa?

There are many steps that a serving establishment can take in order to prevent drunk driving. In order to prevent visibly intoxicated customers from being served, a business can:

  • Train employees in responsible alcohol service
  • Refuse entrance or service to visibly intoxicated customers
  • Carefully control the amount of alcohol served in drinks
  • Develop clear policies and procedures to prevent over-serving
  • Strongly support employee’s decisions to cut-off alcohol service to a visibly intoxicated person

To prevent minors from being served, an establishment can implement the following rules:

  • Check all customers’ IDs before serving them alcohol
  • Train bouncers and bartenders to spot fake IDs
  • Post signage that reflects the business’s ID checking policy
  • Invest in an ID card scanning system
  • Carefully monitor tables where alcohol is served and minors are seated

Preventing drunk driving incidents is a team effort. Individuals should know not to get behind the wheel intoxicated, and it is crucial for establishments that sell alcohol to follow the laws in place in Oklahoma to prevent major incidents.

How a Tulsa Dram Shop Litigation Attorney Can Help Your Injury Claim

Drunk driving accident claims and dram shop litigation matters are critical to keeping Oklahoma roads safe from alcohol-related fatalities. The compassionate legal team of Graves McLain understands how serious injuries can significantly affect lives. Contact our personal injury lawyers today and schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your case by dialing (918) 359-6600.

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