On what was an otherwise ordinary evening following a dinner out in Waikiki with her friend, the life of thirteen year-old Kamalani Kalama took a tragic turn. Her friend’s father, who was entrusted with driving both girls home, had too much to drink. According to police, 33 year-old Mark Garcia had been drinking prior to picking up the girls, and toxicology reports show his blood alcohol level (or “BAL”/ “BAC”) at 0.123, nearly twice the legal limit. Garcia was allegedly speeding along the Pali Highway when his truck hit a tree, killing both him and Kalama instantly, and inflicting critical injuries on his daughter. This horrific accident has shaken parents across Hawaii, and raises anew the question of who may be held responsible for the injuries caused by drunk driving.
Who may be held responsible for injuries suffered in a drunk driving accident?
If you or a loved one have been injured or worse in a drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to obtain compensation from several different sources for the injuries you sustained, including the drunk driver and the establishment that served them.
The drunk driver
In addition to criminal charges or penalties which may be filed against the driver by the state prosecutor, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the driver since his/her driving while intoxicated is considered negligent behavior which directly caused your injuries.
The liquor-serving establishment
Hawaii is among several states across the nation with a “dram shop law” in effect. Cronin Fried Sekiya Kekina & Fairbanks established Hawaii’s dram shop law in its landmark Ono v. Applegate case in 1980. Dram shop laws extend liability to the establishment, be it a bar, hotel, restaurant, or other, which served alcohol to the drunk driver, under certain conditions. Hawaii’s law makes it illegal to sell, serve, or provide liquor to anyone under the influence of alcohol as well as for any person to consume alcohol while driving a motor vehicle.