The family of an elderly Connecticut man who died last year has filed a lawsuit against a bar for over-serving alcohol to a woman who was already drunk moments before she got into her vehicle and crashed killing both herself and the victim. According to a news report in the Express Digest, Edward Bertulis, 87, died on May 9, 2017 after Katherine Berman, wife of ESPN anchor Chris Berman, crashed into his vehicle in Woodbury. Bertulis’s family members say he had just left a cemetery after visiting his wife’s grave when the crash occurred.
Fatal DUI Crash
Officials said an inebriated Berman rear-ended Bertulis’s 2003 Ford Escape while they were both driving down Sherman Hill Road. The force of the collision caused the man’s vehicle to strike a utility pole and overturn. He died at the scene. Berman’s 2003 Lexus veered off the roadway, went down an embankment, and overturned. She was also pronounced dead at the scene.
Now, Bertulis’s family is suing the Market Place Kitchen & Bar and its owner alleging that employees served Berman numerous alcoholic beverages and continue to supply her with drinks even though she was already intoxicated. The lawsuit, which does not specify how many drinks Berman had, says the crash occurred a short distance from the restaurant.
Connecticut State Police have said they are still investigating the crash and have not released their findings yet. The lawsuit was filed under the state’s Dram Shop Act, which holds an establishment responsible if a customer who is served alcohol leaves and causes a fatal or injury crash. The lawsuit is seeking more than $50,000 in damages from the bar.
Dram Shop Laws in California
Dram Shop laws in California are very limited. California laws don’t allow strict liability for businesses that serve alcohol to customers. Liquor stores or bars may not be held responsible for selling alcohol to individuals, even if they might have appeared intoxicated at the time. However, it is important to note that California businesses may still be held liable for serving alcohol to minors who are visibly intoxicated.
The state also has “social host” laws where victims or families may hold liable, for individuals who furnished alcohol to an intoxicated minor who later caused a car accident. In addition, establishments could face criminal misdemeanor charges in egregious cases. If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, you still have legal rights and may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. An experienced DUI victims’ lawyer will be able to help safeguard your rights and assist you with getting the compensation you rightfully deserve.