Car accidents are one of the leading causes of deaths for young people in our country. Unfortunately, working closely with those hurt in thse incidents, our Atlanta car accident attorneys are very familiar with the consequences of auto accident in our area. Many local residents are severely injured, and even killed, through no fault of their own.
For example, in a tragic case, a 23 year old young man named Eddie Ko wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got caught by two drunk drivers, crashing into his car and killing him and another passenger, 22 year old Se Shin. One of the drunk drivers sideswiped the car of the other drunk driver who then veered into oncoming traffic, hitting Eddie Ko’s car head on, according to reports. The first drunk driver was charged with vehicular homicide, DUI, and other charges, while the second also faced suit charges.
Of course criminal charges following these accidents are sanctions by society against the wrongdoers. The criminal case does not provide any support to the victims or their families. That is where the civil law comes in. A Georgia wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the two culpable young men for Mr. Ko’s death, and his family received the insurance policy maximums.
But that is not the end of this story.
Cafe Todahmgol in Duluth, Georgia, whose parent company is AKO Corporation, was sued as well, because the bar/restaurant knew or should have known that the two defendants would soon be driving as they were serving them alcohol. Georgia has a Dram Shop Act, which holds the bar legally responsible for injuries and deaths when they serve a visibly drunk customer, and they are aware that he or she is driving that evening. The lawyer for Mr. Ko’s family provided solid evidence of the intoxication of Kwon and Lee. The jury found that Café Todahmgol had served them 15 rounds of drinks and stayed open past business hours to continue serving them alcohol. The jury in Gwinnett County awarded Mr. Ko’s family $500,000 in this wrongful death lawsuit against the bar.
Dram Shop laws are specifically designed to ensure responsible business ownership, which was clearly lacking in this case. These laws, and using lawsuits to enforce compliance, give businesses an economic incentive to using safe practices and not serve alcohol to potential drunk drivers. One study showed a 5.8 percent decrease in alcohol related fatal car crashes after implementing dram shop laws. Liability in these cases also brings more publicity and attention to the dangerous issue of overconsumption of alcohol and drunk driving.
If you or someone in your family has suffered from a car crash or a wrongful death, the Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter are available to assist with determining whether you have a case and how to move forward. As in this situation, there may be liability for third parties, so it is important to get legal advice to understand your options. Please call us at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.
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