When To Call A Wrongful Death Attorney For Alcohol Related Deaths

Posted on: 6 February 2015

While situations involving a wrongful death can be heartbreaking and challenging for the family of the deceased, it is important to know your rights. If the death of a person under 21 years of age involved alcohol, you will want to ensure justice gets fully served and you are compensated for your pain and suffering.

Death by Alcohol

Unfortunately underage drinking is all too common in the United States. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 5,000 people under the legal drinking age of 21 die each year from alcohol-related incidences including:

  • Car crashes
  • Homicides
  • Suicides
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Drowning
  • Sustained injuries due to falling or getting burned

If your teenager or young adult was under the legal drinking age when he or she died in any of the above scenarios involving alcohol, you should contact a wrongful death attorney.

Dram Shop Laws

Thirty eight states have dram shop laws where an alcohol-serving establishment can be held liable if a person they are serving or selling alcohol to gets injured as a result of drinking too much. According to such laws, the establishment can be deemed negligent if they:

  • Serve alcohol without requesting proof of age
  • Serve alcohol to someone who is intoxicated
  • Serve alcohol after closing time

While these laws only apply when someone has been injured as a result of negligence, these same rules can apply when someone dies as a result of such negligence. When an underage person dies because of a server's negligence, the chances are increased they will get charged in a wrongful death suit.

Who Else Can Be Charged?

Depending on the situation, there are other people who might be charged in your son or daughter's death. If someone of legal drinking age purchased the alcohol for them, they too could possibly be charged. Another person who could be charged is the owner of a home where the alcohol consumption took place. If there was a car accident and the driver of the vehicle had been drinking and survived, this is another case for a possible wrongful death suit. If the driver also died in the crash then whoever served the alcohol to the driver may be charged.

Wrongful death is defined as a person dying as a result of another person's negligence or misconduct. If you suspect your under-aged family member died in an alcohol-related incidence, due to someone's negligence, you need to contact a wrongful death attorney like Campbell, Dille, Barnett & Smith, P.L.L.C.