Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit Attorneys in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
For over 50 years, The Beasley Firm has fought to ensure individuals injured or killed by drunk driving accidents receive full and fair compensation for the physical, emotional and financial injuries they suffered. The drunk driving accident lawyers at The Beasley Firm have experience in every aspect of drunk driving accident investigation and litigation, from proving intoxication even without blood tests or breathalyzers, to the effects of poor road design in making drunk driving accidents more likely, to locating witnesses from bars and restaurants where a person was served too much alcohol, to crashworthiness cases involving vehicles that rollover or catch fire and seat belts that fail.
Since 1958, we have obtained over $2 billion in settlements and jury verdicts for our clients. Let us put our experience and resources to work for you.
The Epidemic of Drunk Driving / DUI in Pennsylvania
Alcohol-related accidents remain an epidemic across the United States, including Pennsylvania. In 2012, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) found that Pennsylvania ranked in the bottom half of all states based on the percentage of total traffic deaths related to driving under the influence (DUI). In an average week, 9 people will die in DUI accidents, accounting for one-third of all traffic deaths in Pennsylvania.
When is a person drunk or legally impaired under Pennsylvania law?
In Pennsylvania, under 75 Pa.C.S. § 3802, an adult aged 21 or older who drives a non-commercial vehicle is considered drunk with a blood alcohol concentration (also called blood alcohol content) (BAC), of 0.08 or more. Drivers of commercial vehicles, such as trucks, are considered drunk with a BAC of 0.04 or greater. Drivers of school buses are considered drunk with a BAC of 0.02 or greater. Drivers under age 21 are considered intoxicated when their BAC is 0.02 or greater.
A common chart used by medical providers and police officers shows that a person with a BAC of 0.08 will likely show impairments in concentration, short-term memory, speed control, information processing capability (such as signal detection), and perception. Even lower concentrations of alcohol can affect driving and walking, and can also impair judgment, thus resulting in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents and other injuries from falls, burns, and drowning.
Who can be held responsible for injuries related to drunk driving and alcohol consumption?
Given the tragic frequency of alcohol-related injuries, there are many criminal and civil laws relating to alcohol abuse. For driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), there are also criminal penalties, including license suspension, revocation, and jail time. A person who was injured as a result of their own or someone else’s alcohol consumption, such as during a fall or a car crash, could file a lawsuit and be awarded compensation in certain situations.
While a drunk driving case or other liquor liability lawsuit often presents many legal issues, there are two types of claims that are common:
- Dram Shop Act: In Pennsylvania, it is illegal “[f]or any licensee or the board, or any employee, servant or agent of such licensee or of the board, or any other person, to sell, furnish or give any liquor or malt or brewed beverages, or to permit any liquor or malt or brewed beverages to be sold, furnished or given, to any person visibly intoxicated, or to any minor…” 47 P.S. § 4-493.
- Social Host Doctrine: “A social host [an adult who serves alcohol at private parties and events] is negligent per se in serving alcohol to the point of intoxication to a person less than 21 years of age and can be held liable for injuries proximately resulting from the minor’s intoxication.” See, e.g., Orner v. Mallick, 515 Pa. 132, 527 A.2d 521 (Pa. 1987).
The purpose behind these laws is to decrease alcohol-related injuries by deterring liquor establishments and social hosts from serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals and to minors. Through these laws, bars, restaurants, and social hosts can be held accountable for serving alcohol to individuals who cause injuries to themselves or others.
If you or your loved one was seriously injured or killed in an alcohol-related accident, use the contact form above for a no-fee, confidential consultation to learn how you can hold those at fault accountable and help prevent future tragedies.
To learn more about legal rights following an alcohol-related accident, see my articles on:
- Did Ryan Dunn’s Passenger Assume The Risk Of Riding With A Drunk Driver?
- New Jersey Drunk Drivers Can Sue Under Dram Shop Laws
- Proving Intoxication In Auto Accident Lawsuits Despite Legal Blood-Alcohol Levels