New Mexico has strict penalties for drunk driving, including license suspension, hefty fines and possible jail time. Drivers who are impaired by alcohol or drugs endanger themselves and every other driver with the misfortune to be on the same road. The state’s drunk driving laws have helped decrease the incidence of auto accidents.
In addition, lawmakers have enacted dram shop laws that extend the responsibility for drunk driving to any bar, restaurant or liquor store that sells alcohol to an intoxicated person. These establishments can be held liable for any injuries that result from the subsequent actions of the drunk person
The extent of the New Mexico dram shop laws were tested last year when the state Supreme Court heard arguments in a drunk driving fatality case. The bar contested its third-party liability, since no one could identify the bartender who served the intoxicated driver. However, given the facts — the driver drank at the bar regularly and had a high blood alcohol level many hours following the crash — the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that it would have been “reasonably apparent” to anyone that the patron was intoxicated. Therefore, the bar was liable for the fatal crash that occurred an hour after the man left the premises.
Proving that an establishment licensed to sell liquor should have anticipated the negative consequences of serving an already-inebriated customer requires the expertise of a personal injury law firm that has experience representing people who have been injured or killed in auto crashes with impaired drivers. Call our reputable New Mexico auto injury attorneys to discuss your options in pursuing compensation from the driver and any liable third parties who have injured you.