Articles Posted in Alcohol Related Injuries

For many people, summertime is associated with recreational activities, spending time with friends, and relaxing. This often involves the consumption of alcoholic beverages. With the increase in consumption of alcohol comes an increase in the number of drinking-related accidents that occur in Massachusetts. Although motor vehicle accidents are a common result of drunk driving, many intoxicated motorists also crash into buildings or other property structures, posing a serious risk to pedestrians and persons within the zone of the collision.

A common device that is used to prevent buildings and pedestrians from being struck by motorists is a bollard. These pylons or other solid structures are placed strategically in front of a building or in an area where it is likely that a motorist may crash into the building in order to prevent the vehicle from crashing into the structure. In most cases, the vehicle will collide with the bollard and lose momentum. To protect pedestrians, bollards are often placed between a busy street and a sidewalk.

According to a recent report from CBS Boston, however, Massachusetts does not require bollards to be placed in certain areas. What prompted the report was a recent crash in which a car missed a row of bollards and careened onto the sidewalk, placing pedestrians at risk. Had a few more bollards been in place, the car would have been prevented from traveling onto the busy sidewalk.

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Massachusetts is one of many states that have enacted a statute allowing accident victims to hold businesses liable for over-serving a patron who leaves the establishment and causes an accident. These statutes are frequently referred to as dram shop acts and provide a basis for recovery for personal injury as well as wrongful death.

One of the most hotly disputed issues in a lawsuit involving a dram shop statute cause of action is whether the patron at the bar was obviously intoxicated at the time the business served the person who caused the accident more alcohol. To proceed in this type of lawsuit, the plaintiff must submit an affidavit providing sufficient facts to raise a legitimate question regarding the establishment’s liability. If the plaintiff cannot raise sufficient facts, the restaurant will be entitled to summary judgment, and the dram shop claim against it will be dismissed.

In the recent case of Bayless v. TTS Trio Corp., the plaintiff was the personal representative of the estate of a person who was killed in an auto accident after driving home from a restaurant. The decedent was proven to be a regular patron at the establishment. Evidence offered by the plaintiff showed that the patron had become intoxicated at the establishment on multiple occasions and that he frequently became loud and boisterous. On the night of the accident, the decedent left the establishment, lost control of the vehicle he was driving, and died in the ensuing accident.

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