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How a drunk driver might not be the only party responsible for a crash

On Behalf of | May 2, 2023 | Car Accidents

It might seem clear-cut who is to blame after a drunk driver hits your car and gives you serious bodily injuries. The choice to drink and drive was severely negligent and led directly to your injuries. Therefore, the drunk driver should be held liable for the costs associated with the crash, such as medical bills and lost wages.

This is certainly true, but it might not be the end of the story. Depending on the facts that led up to your DUI car accident, other parties could be liable too. And in Tennessee, the law does not force you to choose just one person, business or government entity to sue after an accident. You can pursue compensation from any parties that contributed to your injuries directly or indirectly.

Lending their car to a drunk person

For example, say a person has several drinks at a party, then asks to borrow their friend’s car to drive home. If the friend hands over the keys despite knowing that the person is too drunk to drive safely, they might be liable if the drunk person gets into a car wreck that same night. Besides civil liability, a new Tennessee law makes it a crime to lend your car to someone with a DUI on their record and a suspended or revoked driver’s license.

Dram shop law holds liquor sellers responsible

Tennessee’s dram shop law is another version of third-party liability for someone else’s drunk driving negligence. The dram shop law lets victims sue the bar, restaurant, nightclub or other establishment that sells alcohol and overserved a customer despite having known (or reasonably should have known) that they were already intoxicated, then allows the customer to drive away.

Businesses often have more financial resources than individuals, giving victims a better chance at complete financial recovery. Overall, the more avenues you have to pursue compensation, the better. But compensation is still very often possible when you only have the driver to blame.