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DUI accident victim blames bars and wins case

Drunk driving in Pennsylvania is serious business. The number of deaths from DUI is astonishing and just holding drunk drivers accountable is not always enough. Those serving alcohol to an already-inebriated individual can also be held accountable for over-serving a customer.

A 2010 accident by a drunk driver cost two northeastern Pennsylvania bars $6.6 million. A man had been drinking at the Pub 570 and the Sticks N Stones Bar & Grill - both in East Stroudsburg - right before he crashed his car into a tree. He was apparently intoxicated from his drinking binge at the two bars.

The man's injuries were serious; in fact, a fractured neck was serious enough to leave him a quadriplegic. The man sued the bars, claiming that the reason he was intoxicated was because inexperienced bartenders were serving him free drinks and alcohol shots. In his suit, the man also claims that the owners of neither bars were present, although, they claimed they would be managing their own bars when they applied for their liquor licenses.

The bars can only be held liable if it can be proved that the drunken driver was less than 50 percent at fault. In this case, apparently his attorney was able to present such a case. The man claimed he expressed to the bartender at Pub 570 that he wanted to switch to seltzer water, but she promised to take him home after his shift, encouraging him to keep drinking. She then took him to the other bar, where he continued to receive free drinks until he passed out on a bench. When he awoke, his friends were gone, so he left to drive home by himself. That is when the accident occurred.

Initially, the attorney and claimant filed for $12 million, which was the total liability policy coverage from both bars. The bars settled with the claimant for $6.6 million. After expenses and attorney fees, the claimant will end up with approximately $3.2 million. He lives alone in New York, and requires constant care.

Source: post-gazette.com, "Two bars settle for $6.6M in DUI case" Gina Passarella, Dec. 16, 2013

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