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Offices In Colorado Springs, Pueblo, And The Denver Metro Area
Two beers on a bar table

When a drunk driving accident occurs, you would be right to want to put the blame on that drunk driver. Everyone knows that drunk driving is extremely dangerous and must never be done. As such, when someone decides to drive after drinking alcohol, they should be the one to pay for all the damages if a crash happens.

However, in Colorado, the drunk driver might not be the only person to blame for the accident. Colorado’s dram shop law and social host liability law could put some of the fault on an alcohol vendor or party host. Although, the situations when this can happen are somewhat rare.

Colorado Dram Shop Law

A dram shop law allows an alcohol vendor to become partially liable for the damages of a drunk driving accident in specific circumstances.

Alcohol vendors include businesses and establishments like:

  • Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Convenience stores
  • Liquor stores

Under Colorado’s dram shop law, a vendor can be liable if it sold alcohol to a minor under 21, that minor was visibly intoxicated, and that minor later caused a drunk driving accident. The law does not specify that the vendor had to know that the person purchasing the alcohol was a minor. In other words, it remains up to the vendor to double-check the ID and age of anyone who looks like they could be under the age of 21.

Colorado Social Host Liability Law

A social host liability law allows a party or event host to become partially liable for a drunk driving accident in some cases, but with more restrictions than the state’s dram shop law. Specifically, a party host can be liable if they knowingly gave alcohol to a minor, provided that minor a place to drink the alcohol, and that minor later caused a drunk driving accident. Negligence can also factor into these cases. If a party host reasonably should have known that a minor was drinking yet did nothing to stop them, then the host could become liable for any consequent drunk driving accidents.

How to File a Dram Shop or Social Host Liability Claim

Drunk driving accident cases involving dram shop or social host liability laws in Colorado are difficult to pursue. The defendant will be adamant about how they can’t be held responsible for the mistakes of the minor who caused the collision. Even after being told about the dram shop law, they will likely still fight the claim because they don’t want to be criminally liable for giving alcohol to a minor. If you have to file a dram shop claim or social host liability claim, then you should do it with the help of a local attorney who understands Colorado’s laws inside and out.