John P. Bushemi won settlement of a tavern liquor liability case for a Merrillville man who suffered serious injuries as a passenger in a car crash. The passenger’s settlement exceeding $1,000,000 was paid by the insurance company for a local tavern where the intoxicated driver was served alcoholic beverages prior to the crash. Evidence indicated that the bartender served two (2) beers to the visibly intoxicated driver prior to him leaving the bar. Witnesses reported the driver later was traveling at a high rate of speed, weaving in and out of traffic and drove off the roadway and crashed into a tree. Tests showed the driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .247- three (3) times the legal limit in Indiana. The passenger suffered a traumatic brain injury, fractured pelvis, hip socket and jaw and a ruptured bladder. Medical expenses exceeded $800,000 in the case.
Indiana’s “Dram Shop Law” provides that bars, taverns, clubs and others who furnish alcoholic beverages to a visibly intoxicated person are liable for deaths, injuries, and damages caused by the intoxicated person. Attorney Bushemi stated: “The state legislative policy is that businesses that serve alcoholic beverages are accountable for the consequences of serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. The public has a legal right to be free from the hazards of serving alcohol to intoxicated persons.” Indiana’s statute imposes liability for furnishing “one more drink” to a visibly intoxicated person who causes harm. Attorney Bushemi is available for consultation on tavern liability cases.