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Could other parties be liable in an Iowa drunk driving accident?

When an Iowa motorist is intoxicated, this fact is often a major factor if an accident ensues. A victim of the collision could seek to prove negligence to show cause and assign liability to the driver. When a drunk driving accident occurs, a victim could prove the liability of other parties than just the driver. In the state of Iowa, establishments could also be at fault when an intoxicated driver causes a crash after consuming alcohol at their establishment.

Some question how other parties not directly involved in the automobile collision could be liable for a drunk driving accident. According to dram shop laws, both bars and alcohol retailers could be held accountable for the results caused by the intoxicated customer. This means they could be liable for any deaths, injuries or damages caused in the drunk driving crash.

In order to use this law, victims or their loved ones must prove several factors. First, there must be a proof of sale of alcohol by the bar or retailer to the patron driver. Second, the patron must suffer injuries. Next, there must be proximate cause between the intoxication of the driver and the sale of alcohol, meaning the two must have a causal link. Lastly, the intoxication of the driver must be a cause of the injuries or damages suffered by a third-party.

Furthermore, victims must be able to prove that the vendor either knew or should have known that the patron was excessively intoxicated and continued to serve the patron anyway. Proving this will help hold the vendor liable as well as the drunk driver. This could result in a civil action that could award the victim or their loved ones with compensation to cover the expenses associated with the accident.

The aftermath of a drunk driving accident could be very complex. The victim and their family members might be enduring emotional, physical and financial hardships. This could make it difficult to move forward and cope with the incident. Understanding the legal remedies available to accident victims is important. It helps ensures their rights are protected while they determine what actions to take.

Source: Findlaw.com "Dram Shop Laws," accessed on Sep. 29, 2014

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