Georgia Supreme Court Expands Reach for Victims of Drunk Driving

In a Georgia Supreme Court decision that was just handed down on July 5, 2011, the Court expanded the reach of dram shop claims for victims who have been hurt by drunk drivers. The case is Flores et. al v. EXPREZIT! Stores 98 Georgia, LLC, et. al. S10G1652. This case stemmed from a Georgia auto accident where a drunk driver crossed the center line and caused personal injury to occupants of another vehicle. Apparently, the drunk driver had purchased beer at a convenience store and the victims brought suit against the convenience store for selling the driver alcohol when he was “noticeably” intoxicated and knowing that such person will soon be driving a motor vehicle.

The trial court and the Court of Appeals held that the dram shop law did not apply to convenience stores and applied only to establishments where alcoholic beverages were intended for the consumption of the premises. The Georgia Supreme Court disagreed with the lower courts’ interpretation of Georgia’s dram shop act and reversed this decision.

This means that the dram shop act applies not only to places where alcohol will be consumed on the premises, but also those places that sell alcohol to a “noticeably” intoxicated person knowing that such person will soon be driving a motor vehicle, even if the alcohol is not consumed on the premises.

At Henningsen Injury Attorneys, P.C., we believe this is the right decision and the intended interpretation of the dram shop act as enacted by the Georgia Legislature. We have represented numerous victims of DUI drivers and are prepared to make a claim against any drunk driver who causes injury.

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of a drunk driver, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer today. We have experience in all types of auto accident claims and are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.