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Woman sues Georgia bar for wrongful death, over serving patron

A person's decision to drink and drive is his or her personal choice, and that individual should be held responsible for their actions that lead to the injury or death of another. However, is it possible to hold another party at least partially accountable for a drunk driving accident? This is the question one woman is asking in relation to a drunk driving accident in Georgia. The fatal accident resulted in the deaths of two people.

The woman argues that the bar where she and her friends were drinking is partially liable for the incident, since security personnel should have been more proactive in preventing her friend from getting behind the wheel. The accident happened in the early morning hours of a weeknight last month. The bar had initially taken away the driver's keys away from her, but ended up returning them to an acquaintance that drove the group away from the bar.

However, that person only drove a short distance and then handed the keys back to the drunk driver. The woman who was given he keys by bar staff then left in a different car with another group of people. The young woman then began driving the wrong way, causing a head-on collision that killed her, as well as the driver of the other vehicle.

The law in Georgia states that a drinking establishment can be held liable if bar staff serves a noticeably intoxicated person when they have knowledge that the person will be driving soon. The statute in question surrounds dram shop law. This statute has led to a number of civil lawsuits filed against bars and restaurants for their role in fatal drunk driving accidents. This means a bar can be sued for fatal accidents caused by its patron after leaving the establishment. For the families of those killed in drunk driving crashes, this information may help them to not only obtain a measure of justice for their loved one, but also to recover financial losses incurred as a result of the accident.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Crash victims can sue taverns," Craig Schneider, Aug. 31, 2012

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