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Bar That Served Drunk Driver Who Killed Bicyclist Settles Wrongful Death Suit With Victim's Family

The family of a teenager who was struck and killed by an off-duty police officer who was driving drunk has reached wrongful death settlements with the at-fault driver and the bar that served the man beer and tequila shots for hours before allowing him to drive away. According to the Hartford Courant, the family has accepted $250,000 from the driver and $170,000 from the bar.

The video posted below notes that criminal charges for vehicular manslaughter and obstruction of justice by the at-fault driver's police detective father who conducted the initial investigation into the fatal DWI/DUI accident are in progress. In light of revelations made during the criminal proceedings, the family of the deceased teen is considering filing additional civil claims for wrongful death and other losses against the City of Windsor Locks, Connecticut (CT), where the crash occurred.


Unmentioned in the newspaper article, but key to the family's wrongful death recovery, was the fact that the bar was held liable under Connecticut's dram shop law. A similar statute is on the books in North Carolina (NC). Stated simply, a dram shop law allows the victim of an intoxicated person's negligent and irresponsible actions -- for instance, physical assault, drunk driving or vandalism -- to hold the business that sold the alcohol liable for damages and losses.

Bars, restaurants and convenience or ABC stores do not have strict liability under North Carolina's dram shop law, but evidence that an employee of an alcohol vendor should have recognized that a person was drunk or underaged and refused service or sale or taken other measures to protect that person and other people can help a victim make a case against a business.

As an attorney who has helped several families receive wrongful death compensation from the people responsible for taking the lives of their loved ones, I know no amount of money can replace a brother, father, sister, mother or child. At the same time, I am glad to know that both the drunk driver and the bar responsible for the death of the Connecticut teen were made to pay for their fatal actions.

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