The Kentucky dram shop law was discussed in one of our 2011 posts. Indiana also has this type of law. A dram shop law may make a bar, restaurant, or other establishment partially liable for a car accident caused by a drunk driver. This doesn’t mean every time someone has a drink at a bar and wrecks his car that the bar is responsible. Employees of the establishment serving alcohol to a patron have to be aware that the patron is intoxicated, continue to serve alcohol to the patron, and allow the person to drive away instead of providing alternate transportation in order to be considered partially liable. If an underage drinker is served in a bar or restaurant and causes an accident, the bar or restaurant could be liable as well because it should not have served any amount of alcohol to a minor.
In an interesting twist to this law, an attorney has filed two wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of families who lost loved ones in car accidents in Muncie, Indiana. But the targets of the lawsuits are not the drivers that caused the accident. In fact, one of the victims was driving the car himself when he was killed. And there was no alcohol involved in either accident. Instead, these lawsuits have been filed against two convenience stores and the owners of the stores. How were they supposedly involved in these victims’ deaths? Involved with drug trafficking in Florida, the lawsuits claim both of the stores sold illegal drugs to the individuals that caused the accidents that killed the victims.
In the first incident, the victim allegedly bought bath salts at one of the stores on May 25, 2012. Bath salts have an effect on the user similar to cocaine or LSD and it is illegal to possess, make, or sell them in Indiana. The lawsuit claims that the victim ingested the bath salts sold to him by the store and crashed on his motorcycle as a result of the drug’s effect.
In the second incident, which occurred on February 1, 2012, the victim purchased spice, which is like synthetic marijuana, from the second store named in the lawsuit. He and a female friend took some before getting in a car with her at the wheel. The driver crashed the car into a tree and the victim was killed.
Some are arguing that the store owners shouldn’t be held responsible for the supposedly stupid actions of these people who took the drugs and either drove a motorcycle or rode in a car with someone else who had also taken drugs. Others say if the stores hadn’t sold the drugs to the victims, they would have found somewhere else to get them. The fact is, no one knows what else might have happened with these individuals, but what appears to be fact is that the stores sold the drugs to these people who ultimately lost their lives as a result.
It will be interesting to see how these cases play out and what the jury’s verdict is in each case if they make it to trial. In potentially precedent-setting cases like these, or in any case that affects you or a loved one, it is important to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side a personal injury attorney, for assistance.