West Virginia business owners are expected to do all that they reasonably can to protect their visitors and other members of the public from harm. Meeting this duty of care generally involves ensuring that facilities are adequately maintained, properly signposted and safe, but additional safeguards should be followed in establishments where alcohol is served. Bars, restaurants and nightclubs can be sued when accidents and injuries are caused by individuals who had been served alcohol despite showing obvious signs of intoxication, and criminal sanctions are possible when lives have been lost.
A lawsuit involving this kind of liability was filed by the parents and estate of a Pennsylvania man who was struck and killed by a car in July 2016. The driver of the car that struck the man, one of his passengers and the nightclub where his passenger purchased alcohol have all been named as defendants in the litigation. Police reports reveal that the sequence of events leading up to the fatal accident began when the man’s front-seat passenger removed the ignition key while the vehicle was in motion, and the lawsuit alleges that the nightclub served her alcohol despite her obvious intoxication.
The lawsuit also claims the driver of the vehicle that struck the man may also have been served alcohol at the nightclub or a similar establishment. Reports suggest that the man was struck after being forced to exit his disabled vehicle to retrieve the ignition key from his female passenger.
Experienced personal injury attorneys may seek to settle this type of lawsuit expeditiously. Costs can mount quickly when expert witnesses may be needed to establish liability, but property owners could also have good reason to dispose of these matters promptly. Consumers are fickle and may eschew establishments that have been criticized in the press or in the courts, and attorneys may remind the defendants of this during settlement negotiations.