Drunk driving accidents have far-reaching consequences, causing property damage, devastating injuries, and even loss of life. In the aftermath of such accidents, it is necessary to explore all responsible parties, including the establishments that served alcohol to the intoxicated individuals.
Can casinos be sued for drunk driving accidents? In short: yes, they can. Casinos, like other establishments, owe a duty of care to their patrons. This duty encompasses maintaining a safe environment and taking reasonable measures to prevent harm. When it comes to drunk driving accidents, the legal concept of premises liability holds casinos accountable for accidents that occur due to their negligence, including poor judgment around the service of alcohol. In cases where a casino’s action or inaction contributed to a drunk driving accident, it may be possible to file a claim against the establishment.
Establishing negligence in a casino setting
To pursue a successful lawsuit against a casino for a drunk driving accident, it is crucial to prove negligence. This involves demonstrating that the casino breached its duty of care, leading to the accident. Some key factors that contribute to proving negligence in a casino setting include over-serving alcohol, failure to recognize signs of intoxication, and failure to intervene. When a patron is visibly intoxicated and poses a risk to themselves or others, it is the casino’s responsibility to step in and prevent further harm. This may involve arranging alternative transportation or contacting authorities, if necessary. If a casino fails to take appropriate action, this can be seen as a form of negligence, and a breach of their duty of care.
Mississippi dram shop laws and casino liability
When it comes to drunk driving accidents where a casino or other establishment can potentially be considered at fault, you may sometimes hear references to “dram shop laws.” These laws, which play a significant role in determining casino liability in drunk driving accidents, hold establishments accountable for serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals. Dram shop laws are in place to promote responsible alcohol service and prevent drunk driving accidents. To establish casino liability under dram shop laws, several elements must be proven:
- Visible intoxication. It must be proven that the individual who caused the drunk driving accident was noticeably intoxicated or impaired.
- It must be established that the overservice of alcohol by the casino was a direct cause of the patron’s intoxication, impaired driving, and subsequent accident.
- Breach of duty. It must be shown that the casino staff knew that a patron was intoxicated and failed to intervene or continued to serve them alcohol.
The importance of gathering compelling evidence
Building a strong case against a casino requires gathering compelling evidence. This evidence can include eyewitness testimony, surveillance footage, records of alcohol consumption, expert opinions on intoxication levels, and the casino’s policies regarding alcohol service and security. It can also help to establish a timeline of the events leading up to a drunk driving accident. In particular, alcohol service records can reveal a patron’s drinking patterns while on the premises. This timeline can be crucial in demonstrating that a patron consumed excessive amounts of alcohol within a short period, leading to impairment. Collecting a wide variety of compelling evidence is vital to establish the casino’s negligence and strengthen a claim against them.
Other alcohol-related injuries that happen in casinos
Beyond the risks of drunk driving accidents, alcohol consumption in casinos can lead to other harmful situations. Negligent security measures, overcrowding, inadequate lighting, and slippery floors can contribute to falls and other accidents. Additionally, alcohol consumption in a high-stakes, emotionally-charged environment can create a hotbed for chaos and conflict, sometimes leading to reckless behavior, altercations, and even sexual harassment or assault. It is essential for casinos to address these risks and take responsibility for maintaining a safe environment for their patrons. Victims of these scenarios who become injured may be able to sue certain parties involved, including the casino establishment.
Damages and compensation in a casino lawsuit
When filing a lawsuit against a casino for a drunk driving accident or other incident, victims may seek compensation for various damages. These can include medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. In cases where a loved one was killed in a drunk driving accident, family members may even be able to sue a casino in a wrongful death claim.
In order to accurately calculate the potential compensation to be recovered in a lawsuit against a casino, there needs to be a comprehensive evaluation of the losses incurred. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney specializing in premises liability can provide victims and their families with the guidance necessary to navigate the legal process of filing a successful claim.
How the right Mississippi injury lawyer can help you with your case
In many cases, premises liability attorneys can convince casinos or other establishments to settle your claim to avoid a full-blown lawsuit. This means that victims can receive a payment in exchange for releasing the at-fault party from further liability. This is often an attractive option for casinos facing potential litigation, as there is a strong incentive to avoid any negative publicity that may arise from being associated with a drunk driving accident. An experienced attorney will be able to thoroughly investigate the incident, gather evidence, and communicate on your behalf with all relevant parties including insurance companies, casino staff, defense lawyers, and law enforcement. Finally, if a settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, your attorney will be able to build a strong case on your behalf.
At Merkel & Cocke, P.A., we’ve taken on large establishments before, and we know what goes into winning these complex cases. If you or a loved one was hurt in a drunk driving accident or other incident stemming from a casino’s negligence, we can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Reach out to our team of dedicated attorneys at any of our locations, including Jackson, Clarksdale, Greenville or Oxford. We also proudly serve Tupelo and the Gulf Coast. Submit our contact form or call our office today to schedule a free case review.
After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1975, Mr. Cocke and Mr. Merkel established Merkel & Cocke, P.A. in 1982. Since that time the emphasis of Mr. Cocke’s practice has progressed toward medical malpractice. At the present time his practice is exclusively devoted to handling medical negligence cases for the plaintiff, either as a result of direct contact by the client or on referral from other attorneys who are not familiar with the handling of medical negligence cases. Mr. Cocke was selected Best Lawyer of the year for 2012 and 2014 in The Memphis area in the field of Medical Malpractice and has been selected a Best Lawyer and Super Lawyer every year since 2006. Learn more about John Hartwell Cocke here.