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Ontario Drunk Driving Accidents – Parties Liable Other Than the Drunk Driver

Question: My son was seriously injured in a car accident in Kingston, Ontario after coming home from a work party with his friend. My son’s friend was driving, lost control and crashed into a tree. My son suffered catastrophic injuries and broke both his legs. He had surgery and is likely to need more in the future. My son’s co-workers at the party told me that the driver was visibly intoxicated at the party and that they continued to serve him alcohol even though he was drunk. What are my son’s legal rights?

Answer: Your son would have legal rights against the drunk driver, and he may have legal rights against other parties. However, we would need more information in order to properly determine other potential parties. Nevertheless, I will make some assumptions to answer your question.

Liability Against the Drunk Driver
There is no question that your son may recover from the drunk driver. He was drunk and he caused the accident. Because the drunk driver is your son’s friend, he may have a difficult time deciding to sue his friend. What your son has to remember is that in such cases, his friend’s auto insurance company is going to step in and pay the claim for him. Your son is not suing his friend for his personal assets or property.

Liability Against Other Parties

Your son may have claims against other parties, depending on the facts and circumstances.

Scenario 1: Work Holiday Party at Work

If your son’s holiday was at work and his employer was serving alcohol to the employees, then his employer may be responsible for your son’s injuries, as well as the drunk driver’s injuries. Employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment, including a safe party environment. If employers are serving alcohol to the employees and know that they are intoxicated, they cannot let them get behind the wheel.

Scenario 2: Work Holiday Party at a Bar or Restaurant

If your son’s holiday party was at a bar/restaurant that served the alcohol, then the bar/restaurant may be liable for your son’s injuries. Public licensed establishments have a duty not to serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated patrons. If a server from the bar continued to serve your son’s friend (the driver) alcohol even though he was visibly intoxicated, then the bar may be held responsible.

It is best that you and/or your son talk to a car accident lawyer in Kingston about his legal rights. The law is confusing and overwhelming for those who do not practice law. Call our catastrophic injury lawyers to schedule a FREE consultation. 1-866-384-5886. 

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