Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

Call for a free consultation (206) 340-2008

Breaking Down an Alcohol-Related Wreck in Issaquah

Posted Friday, October 28, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Way back in the 1980s, alcohol impairment or intoxication caused almost half of the fatal car crashes in America. So, politicians in Washington and elsewhere promised to “get tough” on “drunk drivers.” The new tough policies included stronger laws and stronger law enforcement tools. Despite all this effort, alcohol abuse still causes almost half of the fatal car crashes in Washington.

When politicians fail to protect people, an Issaquah personal injury lawyer stands in the gap. Attorneys hold tortfeasors (negligent drivers) responsible for the wrecks they cause. More importantly, an attorney obtains the compensation these victims need and deserve. At best, limited compensation is available through the criminal law process. The compensation in a civil claim usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

*First Party Liability* We mentioned alcohol impairment and intoxication above. These two I-words are very different. Either I-word is sufficient to establish liability for damages.

Alcohol is a depressant and a muscle relaxant that impairs judgment ability and slows motor skills and reaction time. These impairing effects begin with the first sip of alcohol. Evidence of impairment includes:

If the tortfeasor was recently at a party where alcohol was available, or at a restaurant that served alcohol, it is more likely than not that the tortfeasor had something to drink. More likely than not (a preponderance of the evidence) is the burden of proof in a civil claim.

An Issaquah personal injury attorney could use the negligence per se rule to establish liability if an emergency responder cited the tortfeasor for DUI or a similar infraction. Generally, people who violate penal safety laws and cause crashes are responsible for them as a matter of law. Negligence per se usually still applies regardless of the criminal court outcome. So, even if the tortfeasor “beats” the DUI in criminal court, s/he is most likely still on the hook for the aforementioned damages.

*Third-Party Liability* Fundamentally, civil claims force people to accept responsibility for the mistakes they make. Sometimes, this mistake and this responsibility happen before the tortfeasor gets behind the wheel.

In Washington, it is illegal for bars, restaurants, and other commercial providers to sell alcohol to obviously intoxicated people. Evidence of intoxication at the point of sale usually includes bloodshot eyes, unsteady balance, and the other aforementioned physical symptoms.

It is also illegal to sell alcohol to minors. Some once-common defenses, like they looked older, usually do not hold up in court in King County.

Speaking of alcohol and minors, it is also illegal for party hosts to provide alcohol to minors. So, if a host lets a minor consume alcohol, and that minor subsequently causes a car crash, the party host could be financially responsible for damages. If the impaired or intoxicated guest was an adult, another legal theory, like negligent undertaking, might be available.

*Connect With a Diligent King County Attorney* Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Mercer Island, contact Pivotal Law Group, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.