How far does an establishment’s liability extend when dealing with intoxicated customers?
For example, a man has been in a bar for a few hours and has had three or four drinks. The man is obviously intoxicated and has been for a while, and the bartender finally decides to cut the man off from anymore drinks. The intoxicated man then leaves the bar, gets in his car and drives off. He ends up hitting another car head on, killing the other driver.
Was this the bartender’s fault? Or did the bartender do all that he was responsible to do? Did the bartender serve the man drinks even after seeing he was intoxicated?
Those are all questions that would be asked in a situation like this.
Let’s change the circumstances to a situation that actually happened in Tennessee recently.
The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that a woman injured in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Red Bank, Tennessee can proceed with her negligence lawsuit against the store.
Jolyn Cullum, the woman who filed the lawsuit against Wal-Mart, was injured after a car driven by another Wal-Mart customer backed into her car.
The lawsuit claims the driver of the car, Jan McCool, was denied service at the Wal-Mart pharmacy because employees believed she was intoxicated. However, the employees didn’t call the police or prevent her from driving anyway.
So again, the question to be asked is whether or not this incident was Wal-Mart’s fault. How far does Wal-Mart’s liability extend when dealing with intoxicated customers? Was it their responsibility to call the police and prevent her from driving in order to keep their other customers safe?
This case was originally dismissed under the claim that Wal-Mart had no duty to control McCool, the intoxicated driver. The Court of Appeals reversed the ruling, however, and the Tennessee Supreme Court agreed that there were sufficient facts in the case to keep it open.
What would an attorney need to prove in this lawsuit against Wal-Mart?
Attorneys would need to prove that Wal-Mart employees knew the woman was intoxicated and posed a danger to other customers. Attorneys would also need to prove Wal-Mart employees had a duty to stop the intoxicated woman or at least report her to the police.
As you can see, personal injury cases, especially those involving premises liability, aren’t cut and dry. The factors involved can make these cases difficult and confusing.
This is why you need an experienced personal injury attorney, such as the ones at Darrell Castle & Associates.
We’re no stranger to difficult cases. We want to see you receive the compensation you deserve and we’ll fight to make sure you do.
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of an establishment, please let us help you. Contact us today, either online or by calling us at (901) 327-1212. One of our Memphis personal injury attorneys will be ready to speak with you, free of charge.