Impaired driving refers not only to drunk driving, but driving under the influence of drugs as determined by a police officer. When thinking of drunk drivers, it is easy to imagine someone on the margins of society, but the reality is that alcohol lowers every user’s inhibitions, which can lead to bad decisions. Sadly some of those bad decisions turn into tragedy.

With the Fourth of July nearing it is important for anyone using alcohol to make plans to ensure that they don’t pose a danger to others by getting behind the wheel. The Fourth remains one of the deadliest days in terms of drunk driving accidents.

If you have been injured in an accident as a result of drunk driving or impaired driving, like all victims of car crashes you can look to your insurance and the negligent party’s insurance for possible compensation. In cases of drunk driving, however, there are also special laws known as “dram shop” laws that in some cases allow you to look to the person who furnished alcohol to the driver.

Idaho Code 23-808 provides that a person who suffered injury, death or any other damage caused by an intoxicated person, may bring a claim against any person who sold or otherwise provided alcoholic beverages to the intoxicated person if:

  • The intoxicated person was younger than the legal ago for the consumption of alcoholic beverages and the person who sold or provided the beverages should have known that person was younger than the legal age.
  • The intoxicated person was obviously intoxicated at the time the alcoholic beverages were sold or furnished and the person who sold or provided the beverages knew or should have known the intoxicated person obviously intoxicated

In summary, then, dram laws may apply when the drunk driver was under the legal drinking age or obviously intoxicated when provided alcohol.

There are some important legal peculiarities to dram shop law that make it essential that anyone who has been involved in a drunk driving accident hire an attorney sooner rather than later. Most importantly, in order to preserve the claim, it is necessary to notify within 180 days the person who provided the alcohol to the drunk driver that the claim is being brought. Unfortunately I’ve seen cases where what would otherwise be a valid claim is lost due to delay in notifying the provider of alcohol.

If a drunk or impaired driver has injured you, call Parke Gordon at 208-322-7274. Our clients come from Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, Meridian, the greater Treasure Valley and beyond. If your injuries make it difficult to travel, we drive to people’s homes in Ada County, Canyon County and throughout Idaho. Let someone with knowledge and experience get you the best result possible.