Jury Awards West Virginia Woman More than $1.5 Million in Drunk Driving Crash

A startling number of people are affected by drunk drivers, and in some cases, are able to collect significant damages for their injuries. A West Virginia jury has awarded more than $1.5 million to a woman who suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of a drunk driving accident that occurred in December of 2014. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a young woman against the drunk driver and the Beallsville, West Virginia American Legion. The young woman, who was 21 at the time of the accident, alleged the drunk driver was a patron of the bar and that the bar continued to serve her alcohol after she became visibly intoxicated. The victim was traveling home after dropping off a friend from a day of Christmas shopping when she was involved in a head-on collision with the drunk driver.

The black box recovered from the drunk driver’s vehicle showed that she was traveling 70 miles per hour when her vehicle went over the center line of the highway and hit the victim head-on. The drunk driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level was found to be more than two times the legal limit at the time of the crash. The victim was life-flighted to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia, with bleeding on the brain, a ruptured spleen, lacerated liver, broken arm, dislocated elbow, fractured femur, and other serious injuries. She still suffers from long-term physical and non-physical health problems and significant scarring as a result of the crash. She will require medical treatment for the rest of her life.

The victim’s attorney stated that “the people of Monroe County delivered a strong message to drunk drivers and the business who [sic] serve visibly intoxicated patron; it’s not okay, and you will be held accountable.” Similar to many states, including Georgia, West Virginia has a dram shop law that holds businesses accountable for serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron. These types of laws also hold businesses responsible for serving anyone under the age of 21 who is involved in a drunk driving crash. Georgia’s dram shop law imposes liability on any person who:

(a) willfully, knowingly, and unlawfully sells, furnishes, or serves alcoholic beverages to an underage person and who knows that person will soon be driving a motor vehicle, or
(b) willfully, knowingly, and unlawfully sells, furnishes, or serves alcoholic beverages to a person who is in a state of noticeable intoxication and who knows that the person will soon be driving a motor vehicle.

While some states’ dram shop laws apply only to business owners, Georgia’s applies to anyone, including social hosts, who engages in the above behavior.

Contact an Atlanta Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in an accident with a drunk driver, regardless of whether you will be able to invoke a dram shop law, you may be able to recover through a personal injury action. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 404.255.6677. We serve the entire state of Georgia, including the following locations: Richmond County, Walker County, and Walton County.

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