Drunk driver causes multi-vehicle crash on Las Vegas street

A 37-year-old woman who stopped at a hotel-casino to have a few drinks on the way home from work caused a five-vehicle crash on Desert Inn Road between Backstage Boulevard and Sandhill Road. Several people were injured in the accident, including one woman who suffered critical injuries. News of the accident has prompted a DUI victim advocate group to renew calls for Nevada to pass a dram shop law, which would permit the victim of a drunk driving accident to sue not only the impaired driver but the bar or other establishment which served drinks to the driver.

The accident details

On a summer afternoon officers received a call about an accident. An account of the incident on KTNV.com reports that the woman claimed she had her last of four drinks that afternoon at approximately 2:00 p.m. at Arizona Charlie's before getting into her vehicle to head home. According to the police report, she was speeding in a construction zone in the moments leading up to the crash. Witnesses said she was traveling westbound on Desert Inn when she crossed the middle line into oncoming traffic.

The first car she hit was a Sentra, after which her car collided with a vehicle behind the Sentra. The second car that she hit was then rear-ended by a mini-van. After striking a fourth vehicle, the woman's car came to a rest in the middle of the highway.

A woman who was ejected from the second vehicle was transported to the hospital, where she underwent surgery for broken bones in both of her legs. The woman who caused the accident was also treated for minor injuries at the hospital, where police officers noticed she smelled strongly of alcohol and had a difficult time keeping her eyes open. She was charged with DUI with substantial bodily harm and failure to maintain a lane.

How a dram shop law works

There are eight states in the country, including Nevada, that do not recognize dram shop liability. Dram shop legislation allows a civil action against a bar, restaurant or other establishment that serves alcohol to an inebriated person if that person leaves the establishment and gets into a drunk-driving crash, thereby causing injury. In the case of an alcohol-related crash that causes death, certain family members of the deceased would be able to file a wrongful death suit against the bar under the same theory. Clark County Assemblyman John Hambrick spoke in favor of such legislation in the news story reported by Fox 5 News, but, for the time being, there are no proposals to change the law on the horizon.

Despite the absence of a dram shop law, people injured by drunk drivers still have many opportunities for recovery of damages. In addition to the availability of compensatory damages in a civil action against a driver who injured others by driving under the influence, a Nevada statute allows the assessment of punitive damages against drunk drivers.

What to do if you are involved in a crash with a drunk driver

If you have been injured in a car accident in which the driver who caused the crash was driving under the influence, you should speak to a personal injury attorney about your rights under the law. A lawyer can inform you of the steps you can take to recover for medical bills, lost wages and property damage.

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