Underage Drinking at Bar Leads to Car Crash...

by Joe
(Topeka, Kansas)

My 19 year old brother got served alcohol in a bar with no proof of ID. He got drunk and was driving my dad's car with me as a passenger. He then crashed into a tree. I was badly injured.

I'm wondering if I can sue the bar for allowing my underage brother to drink, and/or sue the liability insurance on my father's car for my injuries?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Underage Drinking at Bar Leads to Car Crash...":

Joe (Topeka, Kansas):

You present a complicated set of facts. If the bartender had reason to believe your brother was intoxicated and still served him alcohol, the bar owner may suffer some liability. It gets worse for the bar owner if the bartender knew your brother was a minor and served him alcohol, whether the bartender knew him to be intoxicated or not.

Your personal plight though is tentative at best. It appears you not only knew your brother was a minor, but also knew he was about to drive, and finally did drive while he was intoxicated. Knowing that, you still decided to get into the vehicle with him.

It would be difficult for you to claim you had to get into the car with your brother because you didn't have another way home. That won't "cut it" with the insurance company, or in the courts. You could have called a cab, asked someone else for a ride, or done anything but get into the vehicle with your brother.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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