Drinking and Riding: Who May Be Responsible?

Red Truck Driving Past Motorcycle

It’s a warm summer night, a great night to go riding. You get on your motorcycle and hit the open road. You’re enjoying the warm breeze and the solitude the night brings. That’s before you see the car swerving behind you.

You speed up and try to put some distance between you and the driver. But it’s too late. The driver hits you, knocking you off your bike causing severe injuries.

Now, who is responsible for this motorcycle accident? You may be surprised.

Drinking and Riding: The Statistics

Drinking and riding can have serious consequences. Once alcohol enters your system, it has a negative effect on your central nervous system, causing your reaction time to slow down. It also impairs your thinking and reasoning capabilities and worsens your muscle coordination. These are all essential when you’re driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 29 people in the U.S. die each day in an alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes. This accounts for one person every 50 minutes in 2016. Although drunk driving fatalities have decreased in the past three decades, it still claims more than 10,000 lives each year.

Motorcycle riding and drinking are not a great combination. In 2016, the NHTSA reported that 4,950 riders were killed in crashes. Of those crashes, 25 percent had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. In fact, motorcycle riders have the highest overall rate of alcohol impairment in fatal crashes.

Who May Be Responsible?

In the scenario above, you can easily say the drunk driver was responsible for the accident. But if the driver was coming from a local bar or restaurant, can they be held responsible as well?

“Dram shop” laws are a set of laws enforced through civil lawsuits that allow either the victims of a DUI accident or their families to sue those who provided the alcohol to the drunk driver. It states that a business or individual who gives alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person is legally responsible for any damage that person causes.

Under the law, the following conditions need to be met in order to pursue a claim:

  • The person who was served by an employee was “visibly intoxicated” (i.e. slurring words, strong smell of alcohol, stumbling, etc.) and;
  • The business’ decision to continue to serve the intoxicated person resulted in an accident or fatality.

For example, take the Fellerman & Ciarimboli case against Bandits Roadhouse Bar & Grill in Berwick, which has a history of overserving its customers. On Christmas Eve 2016, two individuals got into an accident with a drunk driver who was on his way home from Bandits. According to the police report, the drunk driver’s BAC was three times over the legal limit. Fellerman & Ciarimboli are currently representing the injured victims in the case against the bar and the driver.

Our Fatal Accident Lawyers are Ready to Help

If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident with a drunk driver, you need to know your legal options. Contact the Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton fatal accident lawyers at Fellerman & Ciarimboli now for a free consultation.

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