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DUI Accidents & Colorado's Dram Shop Law

DUI Accidents

If you were recently injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, not only can you file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party, but the person or vendor who provided the driver with alcohol could also be held liable for causing the crash and your injuries. This is known as a “dram shop” law in many states. 

Colorado Dram Shop Law 

According to Colorado law, individuals or businesses with a license to sell alcohol can be subject to a lawsuit if they sold alcohol to the defendant and (1) the person was visibly intoxicated or (2) the person was under the legal drinking age. 

For example, if the defendant was drinking at a bar and the bartender noticed that the person is slurring their words, can’t keep his eyes open, or having trouble staying on their stool, but the bartender continued to give the defendant drinks. Since the bartender kept serving the defendant while they were visibly intoxicated, the establishment can be subject to a dram shop claim. 

When it comes to serving a person under 21 years of age, an injured party can file a lawsuit against the bar or restaurant if the underage driver causes a collision – no matter how intoxicated the minor is. 

Social Host Liability 

Additionally, Colorado also has a “social host liability” law if a “social host” serves alcohol in a private setting, such as a party. However, a social host cannot be held responsible if an adult who is at least 21 years old causes another person’s injury in an accident – even if the person was visibly intoxicated. 

On the other hand, if the social host knowingly serves alcohol to a minor or knowingly provided a place for minors to consume alcohol and then the minor causes another person’s injury, then the social host can be held liable for the minor’s actions. 

Caps on Damages for Dram Shop Cases 

An injured party can recover damages such as medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering from the at-fault individual or business that served the drunk driver. Yet, all damages in Colorado dram shop and social host liability cases are limited to – or capped at – $150,000. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver in Denver, contact Orr Law Firm today at (303) 747-4247 for a free initial consultation. Ready to help you recover your entitled compensation.