Drunk Drivers Dram Shop Act and Punitive Damages

In certain types of cases, the law provides for an added measure of damages where the circumstances are aggravated. These damages, called punitive damages, are designed to punish the wrongdoer, not just compensate the victim. See O.C.G.A. §51-12-5.1. One such instance in which punitive damages are often awarded is when the at-fault driver is drunk. An addition to the drunk driver, an establishment who has served the drunk driver may be sued if the establishment served the noticeably intoxicated driver alcohol when the establishment should have known the intoxicated person would soon be driving. The establishment has what is known as “Dram Shop” liability. See O.C.G.A. §51-1-40.

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