Our office was recently contacted by a woman who lives in Door County, Wisconsin. In September 2008, this woman was driving home at 10:25 pm and was struck head on by another vehicle. Once the police arrived, it was revealed that the driver of the other vehicle was intoxicated with a .31 blood alcohol level AND her 4 year old child was in the car.
The women who was hit head on was severely injured. Her entire left forearm was broken and her right knee cap was shattered. She was forced to quit her job due to the injuries and has not able to do just about any activity until recently. Her last surgery was preformed in early 2009, however, she is still receiving treatment. It is most likely that she will need a knee replacement in the future and the metal in her arm may never be removed. She hurts everyday.
Prior to getting behind the wheel, the intoxicated driver was at a local tavern and was clearly over served.
Also, the intoxicated driver was uninsured with no assets. The victim only had $50,000 of uninsured motorist coverage. Therefore, the only way for the injured women to get her medical bills paid would be to file a law suit., and since the intoxicated driver did not have insurance, the injury victim would need to sue the tavern for over serving a patron.
Unlike many other states that allow for a claim to be filed against a bar owner for negligent behavior (over serving a customer), Wisconsin is one of the few states without Dram Shop Liability. Pursuant to Sec. 125.035 Wisconsin Statutes, bars are not held responsible for over-serving customers who later crash and injure another person.
This Wisconsin law unfairly burdens the taxpayers, through government assistance programs and the health care system, to pay millions of dollars in unpaid medical bills that could and more importantly SHOULD be paid by bar owners insurance for negligently over serving its patrons.
For more information on Wisconsin Law and Drunk Driving