Donald G. Targan & Associates obtained an $875,000.00 Atlantic County settlement against a bar and drunk driver. This was a “Dram Shop” case brought against an Atlantic County bar for serving a patron while he was visibly intoxicated. When the patron showed up at the bar, his blood alcohol level was already twice the legal limit. He should have never been served alcohol in that condition.
Immediately, our firm began investigative efforts including sending a Notice to Preserve all Video to the bar in question. The review of that video proved that the drunk driver was served at the bar while he exhibited signs of visible intoxication, including swaying, blood shot eyes, and a disheveled appearance. The video also showed that the bartender served this individual two full pitchers of beer, ignoring the signs of intoxication. Closer review of the surveillance video showed that the bartender himself was drinking shots with other patrons, in violation of company policy.
The drunk was allowed to leave the bar with a half full glass of beer in his hands as he walked to the parking lot. From there, the drunk went to a local WaWa. Our firm obtained video surveillance from the WaWa after finding a half eaten WaWa sandwich in the defendant’s vehicle at the crash scene, a mile from the store. The video from the interior of the WaWa provided even more proof of the clear intoxication of the drunk driver who dropped his wallet twice while attempting to pay and was seen swaying as he walked throughout the store.
Our investigation also included subpoenaing the credit card records of the drunk driver to show that he had purchased a bottle of hard liquor earlier that day, before arriving at the bar. We also obtained the State Police Blood Alcohol test result taken by court order, two hours after the accident.
In order to prove the drunk driver’s blood alcohol, at the time that he was at the bar, our firm retained a nationally recognized expert in Toxicology. This expert was able to determine that the drunk driver’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit when he entered the bar. A person in this condition should never be served alcohol as he posed a threat to the public.
Our firm also retained a highly regarded Accident Reconstruction expert to explain the sequence of events leading up to the high speed, rear-end crash. Our client’s vehicle struck a telephone pole and was overturned in the roadway before the drunk driver crashed into it. Our client fell asleep behind the wheel. He was also overserved at the same bar, by the same bartender that night. These facts complicated the liability and damages claims. The defense blamed plaintiff for causing the accident. The defense also argued that the spinal injury came from the telephone pole strike.
We also retained a Life Care Planner to quantify the economic impact and care needs resulting from this terrible injury. Our client had just finished College and was enrolled in the Military waiting to enter Boot Camp. However, due to his devastating injuries, he has to change his career path entirely. To his great credit, our client spent two years in intensive rehabilitation. Afterwards, he enrolled in College to pursue a degree in a different field. Despite his disability, he took twenty credits per semester and earned high honors.
The bar paid $850,000.00 of it’s $1 million dollar policy. The defendant driver paid all of its $25,000.00 automobile insurance policy. The drunk driver absconded from the state and has a warrant for his arrest for failure to appear to answer the drunk driving charges.