Does Alaska Have Dram Shop Laws for DUI Car Accidents?

Drunk driving is illegal in Alaska and every US state, but the statistics indicate that the fear of punishment does not deter some motorists from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 30% of all traffic deaths nationwide involve a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher – the legal limit in all jurisdictions. More than 11,650 people are killed in DUI collisions annually, and thousands of other victims suffer serious injuries in these crashes.

You might be familiar with basic auto accident laws in Alaska, by which you can recover monetary damages from an at-fault driver. However, there is an additional remedy in some cases where a bar, restaurant, or homeowner could be held accountable for serving the drunken motorist. This option is called “dram shop,” and it could be a favorable strategy for your claim. An Anchorage car accident lawyer can explain details, but read on for some basics about dram shop liability.


Holding an Establishment Accountable 

Bars, taverns, restaurants, and other establishments that are licensed to serve alcohol can be liable under two scenarios:

  • The vendor provided alcoholic beverages to a person who is under the legal drinking age of 21 years old.
  • The vendor served alcohol to a drunken individual or allowed an impaired person to consume alcohol on the premises.

In either case, a victim can pursue legal action against the establishment when the drunk person’s intoxication leads to a DUI crash. Plus, the vendor may also be liable for any accidents that do not involve motorized vehicles, such as where the impaired individual causes a slip and fall.


Liability for Social Hosts

A legal theory that is closely associated with dram shop affects someone who is not a vendor that is licensed to serve alcohol. These are social hosts who have parties, but they may or may not charge for beverages. Under Alaska law, you may pursue a claim against the at-fault party; however, social hosts are only liable for serving a person under 21 years old.

Reasons to Pursue a Dram Shop Claim

When you can file a claim against the at-fault motorist after a DUI collision, you might wonder why a dram shop claim would be necessary. The reason is damages and the fact that the drunken individual may not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay for them. Some motorists do not carry insurance at all.

To obtain a fair amount of compensation for your losses, you may need to turn to other parties. Dram shop laws give you the legal basis for doing so. A bar or restaurant also has insurance, so you would file a claim under their policy.

Consult With an Alaska Car Accident Attorney About Dram Shop Laws

If you were seriously hurt in a DUI crash, it is worthwhile to pursue all potential parties and theories of liability. For more information, please contact Power & Power Law at 907-222-9990 or via our website. We can set up a no-cost case evaluation at our offices in Anchorage, Alaska.