Admittedly, Las Vegas is a wonderful town to have fun, relax and probably drink. It’s pretty easy, though, to drink too much or be “overserved,” then leave the establishment and get into a car accident due to drunk driving. This is a dire situation, and many residents and guests of this exuberant city have this experience.
Also, you may believe that if you feel you were overserved, you could sue the bar or restaurant for their negligence in serving you too much. This is a fragile legal line, though; you must obtain an experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyer if you expect to prevail.
If you, or anyone else, was hurt in a drunk driving accident in Nevada and you’re all over 21 years of age, usually, you won’t be able to sue the bar or establishment that served you. There are caveats, however; if you, as the drunk driver, were a minor, and the one serving you was a host and not a licensed establishment, then you’re most likely free to sue.
In Las Vegas and all of Nevada, the legislation is significantly lacking regarding recovering damages from a bar or any alcohol-serving establishment. However, with the help of an experienced Las Vegas personal injury law team, you may still directly pursue compensation from the guilty party if you’ve been the victim of a drunk driving accident.
However, some laws state that no person may sell or provide alcohol to anyone who is obviously intoxicated. Then, admittedly rarely, any person that sells, furnishes, gives, or causes to be sold any alcoholic beverage to an obviously intoxicated person may be guilty of a misdemeanor and be held accountable.
So, due to the legal vagueness of these laws in Las Vegas, if you have been injured or held liable, you must obtain the thorough, skilled, and empathetic legal guidance of a knowledgeable Las Vegas car accident law team. They will do a detailed analysis of the circumstance of your unique case and know exactly how to mount a legal argument that will get you the compensation or legal help you need and deserve.
What If the Bartender Serves Me to the Point of Intoxication?
As stated, it’s usually challenging in Las Vegas to sue the bar or establishment itself for you leaving the bar drunk and getting into an accident. The same holds if you are the victim of a drunk driver who just left a bar.
The law more clearly states that no person, including the bartender, may sell or give you alcohol if you are obviously intoxicated. If they do, and the patron leaves the bar and gets into an accident, it’s possible, with the representation of an excellent car accident law team, that they could be held responsible.
This is a “gray” area, though, but any restaurant or bar does have a particular “duty of care” for its customers, and it is usually an offense if they serve you (or anyone else) if they are already drunk.
If the bar staff is even in doubt about whether a patron is drunk, they should refuse to serve them. Approaching a drunken customer may be tricky, and confrontation should be avoided. However, the staff must provide clear reasons for their actions as they could save the patrons or your life!
These cases, however, can be legally complex, and only with the proper legal guidance and thorough investigation of your case will you be able to obtain needed compensation or possibly have your liability mitigated.
Can “Overserving” Actually Be Used As a Defense in Las Vegas?
Suppose you have been “overserved” by a bartender or employee of the establishment, and someone has been seriously injured in a car accident. Under the appropriate legal circumstance, overserving could be a defense.
If you drank voluntarily and became over-intoxicated, it commonly cannot be used in your defense if you were injured or injured someone else.
However, “involuntary intoxication,” or being overserved by a bartender or employee, maybe a defense under specific legal circumstances. This defense, however, is commonly used if you are charged criminally.
Let’s say someone in your car or the other was killed or very seriously injured. Your lawyer could use an “involuntary intoxication” defense to help you or to help obtain the total amount of compensation you need to move on with your life.
This defense, though, may be highly complex to draft successfully. If you were severely injured, the help, aggressive stance, and knowledgeable guidance of your Las Vegas auto accident lawyer would be invaluable!
Does Nevada Have “Dram Shop” Laws?
In some states, the owner of a bar or restaurant may be able to be sued if an intoxicated patron is involved in an auto accident after leaving the establishment.
“Dram shop laws” govern lawsuits that involve injuries caused by anyone who bought alcoholic drinks at bars or restaurants. However, Nevada’s “Dram shop law” provides very little protection if you’ve been injured or are held liable for a drunk driving auto accident.
If you’re the victim of a car accident caused by a drunk driver or are held liable, horrific injuries can be involved, and you could be in a very dire legal situation.
So, in many cases, you, as the person held liable, look for someone to sue to either mitigate your liability or obtain the desperately needed compensation.
If the person who caused the accident (and it could be you) consumed alcohol at a bar or restaurant before the crash, is the establishment or its employees partially responsible? In most states, the answer would be yes, they are, under the state’s dram shop law. Nevada, unfortunately, is not one of these states.
There are only a few situations when Nevada’s minimal dram shop law applies; they are:
- The law explicitly disallows a dram shop claim against a business or person who serves alcohol to someone 21 years old or older.
- It allows a dram shop action to be filed against a business or person who sells or furnishes alcohol to anyone under age 21.
- The law also allows a dram shop action against a private social host who provides alcohol to a minor or will enable them to consume alcohol on their property.
I’ve Had a Car Accident, and Believed I was Overserved; How Can I Proceed?
You now begin to see that even if you were overserved in a Las Vegas bar or restaurant, it is always challenging to attempt to sue the establishment itself. However, if you are held liable, and the accident is severe, you could face dire, life-changing consequences.
The laws pertaining to these incidents are, at best, reasonably gray in Nevada. You must obtain the legal guidance of a professional, knowledgeable, and aggressive Las Vegas car accident law team. You have rights, so consult with your lawyer as soon as possible and ensure your rights and legal options are all utilized to get you the best outcome possible.