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Kansas City Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

Hit by a drunk driver? We stand ready to help!

Drunk drivers are a menace to themselves and more importantly, to you. A driver who drinks and then gets behind the wheel of their vehicle is both reckless and irresponsible and is actually committing a criminal offense. Each year, drunk drivers cause numerous car accidents on Kansas City roads and highways. It is overwhelming enough when one is injured in an accident, but when one finds that the driver who is responsible for the accident was driving drunk, the confusion and pain is only increased.

Drunk drivers ignore or disobey traffic laws in many ways, such as:

  • Running red lights
  • Driving erratically
  • Racing on the streets/highways

If you have been injured or a family member has been killed due to a drunk driver, it is important that you contact an Kansas City lawyer to seek fair compensation for your injury. Injuries sustained when hit by a drunk driver can be very devastating, and often include head trauma, disfigurement, paralysis, and scarring.

Holding Responsible Parties Accountable With Punitive Damages

When you or a loved one is hurt or killed by a drunk driver, a message of deterrence should absolutely be sent. The most widely-used deterrent against a drunk driver in a personal injury case is punitive damages. Generally, the money you get in a personal injury case is meant to compensate you for your injuries, and your level of compensation is tied to your level of loss. But, if the actions of the person committing negligence are egregious, such as with a drunk driver, you can sue them for punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.

Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for his or her actions and deter him or her and others like them from similar actions in the future. There are limits on how much punitive damages you can get, and half of any punitive damages verdict goes to the state. But, punitive damages are a powerful deterrence in personal injury cases, especially against drunk drivers.

Dram Shop Liability in Kansas City

The term "dram shop liability" refers to the liability of alcohol-serving establishments for injuries or losses caused by intoxicated patrons outside of the premises. It generally applies when a bar serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person who then later causes an accident after leaving the bar.

In Missouri, dram shop liability cases are governed by statute. Section 537.053 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri spells out types of dram shop liability cases. The first is when a bar knowingly sells alcohol to a minor, the second is when the bar knowingly serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. Each requires the intoxicated person causing some kind of harm due to their intoxication. The victim of that harm can then make a claim against the bar that served the alcohol to the minor or intoxicated person.

The challenge in making a claim against a bar for serving a visibly intoxicated person who later causes harm is proving that the bar knew the patron was intoxicated. The Missouri statute says that a bar should know someone is intoxicated when he or she is "inebriated to such an extent that the impairment is shown by significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction. A person's blood alcohol content does not constitute prima facie evidence to establish that a person is visibly intoxicated within the meaning of this section, but may be admissible as relevant evidence of the person's intoxication."

This is a difficult threshold. Gathering proof of visible intoxication is often accomplished by eyewitness testimony. However, the eyewitnesses are often people who were also drinking at the same bar and their memory may be foggy. The best evidence is to hope that the bar maintains some sort of surveillance footage of the patron.

There are many other nuances to Missouri dram shop liability cases. If you have questions, please feel free to contact our firm and discuss your case with a Kansas City drunk driving accident lawyer from our firm.

Get Help From a Qualified Personal Injury Law Firm

At Meyerkord, Russell & Hergott, we offer personal and professional service and we are committed to helping you through this difficult time. We want to help you to be in a position to make an informed decision and so it is important to do a thorough investigation of all the aspects of the accident which show who is clearly at fault.

We take an interest in every case we decide to take on and take the time to educate you about your legal matters since your injuries may result in long term medical costs that could ultimately financially ruin you and your family.

Contact our office today to speak with a Kansas City drunk driving accident lawyer who cares about your case!

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