Drunk Driver Claims Lawyer Hawaii
Intoxication, Alcohol, Bars, Liquor Stores and Dram Shop Liability
William H. Lawson, Attorney at Law
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Phone: (808) 524-5300 New Client Hotline
Phone: (808) 528-2525 Main Business Line
The Deadline to File a Dram Shop Claim / Liquor Liability Claim
The deadline for most dram shop (liquor liability) claims in Hawaii is two (2) years from the date of the injury. For those claims which arise out of car accidents, the deadlines for motor vehicle accident related claims may apply to certain aspects of such claims (see motor vehicle section of this web-site).
Generally in Hawaii a dram shop (liquor liability) claim starts with a bar or liquor store selling alcoholic beverage to a person who is under the influence of alcohol at the time. If that person thereafter injures a third party, the Hawaii courts may impose liability on the commercial seller of the liquor for the damages caused. The Hawaii Supreme Court first recognized dram shop liability for liquor sales by commercial establishments in Ono v. Applegate, 62 Haw. 131, 612 P.2d 533 (1980). Intoxicated adult drivers who injure themselves do not have a claim recognized by the Hawaii courts at this time. The claims of intoxicated minor drivers who injure themselves are generally are not recognized by the Hawaii courts at this time- Winters v. Silver Fox Bar, 71 Haw. 524, 797 P.2d 51 (1990) [A minor who sustains injury due to his or her own voluntary intoxication is not within class of persons protected by statute prohibiting sale of liquor to minors, and thus is precluded from a suing commercial liquor supplier]. However, it is possible that the Hawaii Supreme Court is in the process of revisiting this issue. The Hawaii Supreme Court has found that a store operator may be held responsible to innocent third parties injured as result of an illegal sale to a minor even though the injuries were caused by an intoxicated minor other than minor who bought liquor, if such injury was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the illegal sale. Reyes v. Kuboyama, 76 Haw. 137, 870 P.2d 1281 (1994) At present, however, it appears that only third parties who are injured by a drunk person's conduct are clearly protected by Hawaii's dram shop doctrine.
Certain persons (including taverns, bars and liquor stores) may become liable to an intoxicated person (or his estate) for his injuries if they commit "affirmative acts" which increase the risk or the severity of the injury to the intoxicated person. Although "aggressive selling" has been found not to constitute such an "affirmative act", it is probable that conduct such as transporting the person to a dangerous and busy intersection and leaving them there unattended would constitute such an affirmative act. See, Feliciano v. Waikiki Deep Water, Inc., 69 Haw. 605, 752 P.2d 1076 (1988).
The social host who throws a party and whose guest causes an accident after leaving, does not have liability under Hawaii law for damages caused. Only commercial establishments (including taverns, bars and liquor stores) are liabile under the present case law. It is yet to be determined, however, whether or not employers will be found liable for "Pau Hana" party drinkers on company premises or for intoxicated persons leaving the employer's premises after parties or celebrations.
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