It’s common knowledge that drunk driving is against the law. However, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, each year across Arkansas there are approximately 150 deaths caused by drunk driving. For whatever reason, the fact remains that too many drivers do not see a problem with getting behind the wheel after they have had too much to drink.
In Arkansas, not only is it a criminal offense to drive while intoxicated, it can also give rise to civil liability for any damage or injuries caused in a drunk driving accident.
In addition, the Arkansas Legislature has done its part to help the victims of drunk driving accidents obtain financial compensation following an accident by enacting what is commonly known as a “Dram Shop” law. Arkansas’ version of a Dram Shop law, located in Arkansas Code Section 16-126-104, allows for some drunk driving victims to seek financial compensation from the vendor that knowingly sold the drunk driver alcohol. In order for a vendor to be held liable, the victim must prove that the establishment knowingly served someone who was either under the age of 21 or “clearly intoxicated.” In many cases, this is difficult to prove and may require a detailed investigation immediately following the accident.
Drunk Driver Strikes and Kills Elderly Arkansas Man
Earlier this month, an 84-year-old man was struck and killed by an allegedly drunk driver as the man was crossing the street. According to a local news source reporting on the tragic accident, the collision occurred at around 7:30 at night in Van Buren. Evidently, the elderly man was crossing the street with the assistance of a walker when the drunk driver struck him. The driver remained on the scene and provided a blood-alcohol test to police that showed he was over the legal limit. He was charged with negligent homicide, driving while intoxicated, and driving carelessly.
While criminal charges were filed in this case, it is important for accident victims to understand that criminal charges are not necessary to pursue a civil claim for damages against a drunk driver. For example, if a drunk driver escapes criminal liability through a legal technicality, that same technicality would not likely prevent anyone injured in the accident from pursuing a personal injury case against the driver. Additionally, the burden of proof to sustain a criminal charge is higher than that which is required to establish civil liability. This means that even if a judge or jury finds a driver “not guilty” of criminal charges, a jury may still find the same defendant liable in a civil action.
Have You Been Involved in an Arkansas Drunk Driving Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an Arkansas drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Depending on the surrounding circumstances, there may be more than one potentially liable party, including the vendor that served the driver alcohol. To learn more about how you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries, call the Pfeifer Law Firm at 501-374-4440 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case with a dedicated personal injury attorney.
See More Posts:
13 Fatalities Reported in a USA Holiday Tour Bus Crash in California, Arkansas Injury Lawyer Blog, November 4, 2016.
Arkansas Supreme Court Discusses Sole-Remedy Provision of Workers’ Compensation Law, Dismissing Plaintiff’s Appeal, Arkansas Injury Lawyer Blog, January 5, 2017.