What are the available damages in dram shop claim?

The damages that one would obtain in an Iowa personal injury claim are the same as the damages in dramshop claim; they are as follows.

  • Payment of all medical bills associated with the accident: including any prescribed physical or occupational rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering: includes physical and emotional suffering if the victim experiences post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or the emotional trauma of permanent loss of a limb and severe disfigurement
  • Lost income: either job-related wages or monies earned if the victim is self-employed a business owner. Any work-related benefits such as paid employee medical, insurance, or retirement contributions may also be collected.
  • Damaged property repair or replacement: the victim’s vehicle and any items in it at the time of the accident
  • Wrongful death: commonly demanded by family survivors. This can include all medical and funeral expenses, lost future income that would have been earned by the deceased, loss of consortium, and other incurred expenses that can be attributed to the untimely death of the beloved family member.
  • Punitive damages: commonly awarded by a judge or jury in addition to the actual (requested) damages if the defendant showed a willful disregard for the victim’s safety.

Basics of Dramshop Law

A dramshop claim is one levied against a person or business that has a liquor license, for serving too much alcohol to an individual that later causes the intoxicated person to get into a car accident (most often) resulting in injury or death to another. Specific legal requirements regarding claims are involved, and there are several liability variables; all of which are outlined in Iowa Code § 123.92, and subsequent rulings of law.

Though Iowa has a Dramshop Law, other states – such as Nebraska – do not.  In Iowa, there are relatively brief and precise time limits for providing written notice to the bar or liquor license holder of an injured victim’s intent to file a claim or lawsuit for damages; and the injured victim bears the burden of proof for the dramshop claim (or the survivors of a wrongfully deceased victim).

If someone is hit by an Intoxicated driver then does he or she sue only the bar?

Not at all. Injured victims also have a strong civil case against the drunk driver. What likely happens is the victim sues both defendants and each pays a percentage of the victim’s reasonable damage total; any punitive damages notwithstanding.

What is the amount of time a drunk driving accident victim can file a dramshop law claim?

The notice of intent to file a claim against the establishment’s licensee (usually the owner) or permittee (bartender or wait person) is short: six months after the accident, and the information in the notice must be very precise, suggesting the need for an experienced dramshop law attorney’s assistance. The statute of limitations to file the injury claim is two years from the date of the accident.

Walker, Billingsley & Bair are here to take care of the exhaustive legal paperwork that accompanies filing claims against two parties, one being a company. Contact us using the online form or call us to discuss your situation further: (641) 792-2335.

Corey Walker
With over 20 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.