Who is responsible for a drunk driver?

Posted on April 19, 2019

When someone chooses to get behind the wheel after drinking, they have made a choice that puts other lives at risk. They should be held accountable if they cause an accident.

However, Utah offers options for accident victims to seek compensation from other parties who may also be responsible for the accident. Someone who supplies alcohol to a driver could be liable.

Liability for resulting damages

According to Utah law, a person is liable for the injury, damages or death of an accident victim if they serve alcohol to a minor or a person who is visibly drunk or under the influence of drugs. Even if the person serving the alcohol didn’t explicitly know about the person’s intoxication, they could still be liable if they “should have known from the circumstances” that the person was intoxicated.

Anyone who suffered an injury can seek damages. If that person dies, the right to seek damages transfers to that person’s estate. Damages cap at $1,000,000 for one injured individual and $2,000,000 for all people injured as the result of one accident.

Determining liability can be complicated

While third parties can be held liable under Utah law, proving that a bar or restaurant knowingly served a visibly intoxicated person can be difficult. It’s more complicated to prove a driver’s intoxication when they were served than it is to prove a driver’s age.

Nevertheless, injury victims and their families have the right to seek damages and attempt to establish the proof needed to hold liable parties accountable. While the person who chose to drive drunk is absolutely responsible for their decision, the person who gave them alcohol can be equally negligent.