What is Liability?

Liability is one of the most significant words in the field of law. It means legal responsibility for one’s actions or omissions. If a person or entity fails to fulfill that responsibility, they have left themselves vulnerable to a lawsuit for the resulting damages or, as in a violation of statute or breach of contract, a court order to perform.

To win such a lawsuit, the plaintiff (suing party), must prove the legal liability of the defendant if the plaintiff’s actions are shown to be true. Proof requires evidence of the duty to act, failure to fulfill that duty, and the correlation of that failure to some injury or harm to the plaintiff.

How Liability is Determined?

Most accidents happen because someone was negligent; however, proving that someone was careless or negligent and therefore liable for an accident or injury can be complicated. Essentially, if one person involved in an accident was more careless than another, that person must pay for at least a portion of the damages suffered by the more careful person.

This is the primary rule of thumb for determining liability; however, one or more of the following may also apply;

  • If the injured person was someplace he or she was not supposed to be, or someplace he or she should have anticipated the type of activity that caused the accident, the person who caused the accident might not be liable because that person had no responsibility to the injured person
  • If the injured person was careless as well, compensation may be reduced to the degree that the carelessness contributed to the accident. This is known as comparative negligence
  • If a negligent person causes an accident while employed by someone else, the employer may be liable for the accident as well
  • If an accident occurs on property that is dangerous because it is improperly maintained, a property owner is liable for being careless in maintaining the property, even if he or she did not create the hazardous condition
  • If a defective product causes an accident, the manufacturer and the seller of the product are both liable regardless of whether the injured person knows which one was careless in creating or allowing the defect
  • When more than one person is responsible, most states’ law provides that any one of the careless parties is responsible for fully compensating you

Seattle BartenderWashington has a dram shop statute that makes a business which sells alcoholic drinks or a host who serves liquor to a drinker who is obviously intoxicated or close to it, strictly liable to anyone injured by the drunken patron or guest. Statutory violations are “punishable by a fine of not more than $500 as well as separate [civil] actions.”

One purpose for these laws is to keep persons who are already inebriated from overindulging in alcohol and being injured or killed from over-intoxication. The most important goal of dram shop laws is to prevent hosts or bartenders from providing more alcohol to an inebriated patron who could potentially get into a vehicle and drive off, placing innocent persons at risk of injury or death.

Establishments in Seattle, which are licensed to sell liquor to patrons, are required to properly train employees to assess whether or not a person has had too much to drink.

Holding an Alcohol-serving Establishment Liable

If a drunk driver has injured you or someone you love, you have the legal right to sue the establishment responsible for endangering the public by allowing an intoxicated patron to leave the establishment and drive away. You may be entitled to compensation from the restaurant, bar, pub, liquor store or other alcohol-serving establishment if you meet the burden of proof.

Any alcohol-serving establishment is accountable to victims of drunk drivers when its bartenders or waiters knowingly over-serve an underage or obviously inebriated patron. The difficult part is that the victim must show the restaurant knew that the driver was a minor or intoxicated.

How a Washington Injury Attorney Can Help

The legal hurdles associated with burden of proof can be daunting, and the longer you wait to pursue your case, the harder it may be. A Seattle Injury Attorney will conduct the legal and investigative work necessary such as;

  • Obtaining copies of the driver’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) exams
  • Interviewing eyewitnesses, police officers, paramedics and others at the scene of the accident who can offer more details about what happened
  • Gathering witness statements, credit card receipts and decisive video surveillance evidence from the establishment

Contact Seattle Car Accident Lawsuit Attorneys

If a drunk driver injures you or someone you love, an experienced Seattle car accident attorney at Phillips Law Firm can help. If you are interested in learning more about your legal options, call us at 1-800-708-6000. Our Seattle personal injury lawsuit attorneys are waiting to assist you 24/7, offering a free case evaluation. Remember our no fee promise. If we do not recover anything for you, you do not owe us an attorney fee.

The personal injury lawyers at Phillips Law Firm have successfully represented injured individuals and their families in Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Everett, Kent, Auburn, Renton, Federal Way, Bellingham, Marysville, Lakewood, Redmond, Shoreline, and throughout the State of Washington.