Drunk Driving Accidents in Pennsylvania
10.0 Avvo Rated Car Accident Attorneys in Philadelphia, PA
For close to 60 years, The Beasley Firm has fought to ensure individuals injured in drunk driving accidents receive full compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial losses they sustain. We have awarded tens of millions of dollars for victims from the drunk drivers and the bars and restaurants that serve intoxicated and impaired customers.
Our Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyers have experience in all of the different aspects of these cases including:
- Showing the driver was drunk, even in the absence of blood / chemical / breath tests
- How bad road design can raise the possibility of drunk driving accidents
- Identifying witnesses from restaurants and bars where the driver was over-served
- Crashworthiness cases involving vehicle rollovers, seat belt failure, and other defects
Since 1958, we have obtained over $2 billion in settlements and jury verdicts for our clients. If you or someone close to you was injured in a drunk driving accident, speak with a Philadelphia car accident attorney from our firm. Let us put our experience and resources to work for you.
Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in Pennsylvania
Alcohol-related accidents remain an epidemic across the United States, including the state of Pennsylvania. In 2012, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) found that Pennsylvania ranked in the bottom half of all states based on the percentage of total traffic deaths related to driving under the influence (DUI). In an average week, nine people will die in DUI accidents in the state, accounting for over 30% of all traffic deaths in Pennsylvania.
When Is a Person Drunk or Legally Impaired Under Pennsylvania Law?
In the state of Pennsylvania, an adult aged 21 or older who drives a non-commercial vehicle is considered drunk with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, according to 75 Pa.C.S. § 3802. Drivers of commercial vehicles, such as trucks, are considered drunk with a BAC of 0.04% or greater. Drivers of school buses are considered drunk with a BAC of 0.02% or greater. Drivers under age 21 are considered intoxicated when their BAC is 0.02% or greater.
How Does Intoxication Affect Driving?
A common chart used by medical providers and police officers shows that people with a BAC of 0.08% will likely show impairments in:
- Short-term memory
- Speed control
- Information processing capability such as signal detection
Even lower concentrations of alcohol can affect driving and walking. Alcohol can also impair judgment. Impaired judgment can result in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents as well as other injuries from falls, burns, or drowning.
What to Know About Drunk Driving Lawsuits in Pennsylvania
While a drunk driving case or other liquor liability lawsuit often presents many legal issues, there are four common types of claims:
- Claims against drunk drivers - You may be able to file a negligence / reckless lawsuit against the drunk driver involved. Driving while drunk is a crime, and so the legal doctrine of "negligence per se" provides that a court will automatically find a drunk driver negligent and thus responsible for the injuries they cause. Additionally, bankruptcy laws do not allow debtors to discharge debts incurred as a result of drunk driving accidents, and so insurers for drunk drivers have a strong incentive to settle these claims or face bad faith claims by their policyholders.
- Bars / restaurants - You may be able to bring a Dram Shop Act claim against the bar or restaurant that served the driver who caused your accident. In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to serve alcohol to a visibly impaired person. If any restaurant or bar serves too much alcohol to someone, and that person gets in an accident that hurts himself / herself or someone else, the bar can be liable for all injuries.
- Private individuals who served alcohol to minors - The Social Host Doctrine holds that, although homeowners are not liable for serving alcohol to adults, they are liable for injuries caused by serving alcohol to minors.
- Road design defects - There are standardized principles of road design that help ensure that even exhausted or impaired drivers will correctly follow the road instructions given to them. For example, in front of every construction site on the road, there needs to be a certain amount of warning-depending on the speed of the road and the conditions of the area-for drivers to know they need to merge.
These laws are designed to decrease alcohol-related injuries by preventing liquor establishments and social hosts from serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals and minors. Through these laws, bars, restaurants, and social hosts can be held accountable for serving alcohol to individuals who cause injuries to themselves or others. There have been multi-million dollar settlements-including many secured by our attorneys-against some of the most high profile bars and restaurant chains in the Philadelphia area and in Pennsylvania, including against Dave & Buster's, Chickie's & Pete's, and Outback Steakhouse. We're here to win your battles.
Unparalleled Track Record for Injury Victims in Pennsylvania
Our attorneys obtained the first-ever million-dollar verdict in Pennsylvania, and we've never stopped building on that record. Our law firm has obtained over 300 verdicts or settlements that each amounted to a million dollars or more. If you or your loved one was seriously injured or killed in an alcohol-related accident, set up a confidential consultation with our firm today.
Let us put our experience and resources to work for you and your family by contacting The Beasley Firm at (215) 866-2424.