Can a Child Passenger Sue a Drunk Driver for Injuries in Minnesota?

Children have legal rights under Minnesota law. This includes the right to sue an at-fault driver for personal injuries sustained in a crash. If the at-fault driver was drunk, the child may also have a dram shop claim against a bar, restaurant, liquor store or other business that provided alcohol to the at-fault driver prior to the crash.

The child has the right to sue, both if he or she was a passenger in the vehicle hit by the drunk driver or in the vehicle driven by the drunk driver. This is true even if the at-fault driver is the child’s parent.

It is critically important to determine if there is a dram shop claim. This is because the driver’s insurance policy may not provide enough money fully compensate the child for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other damages. This is often the case when there are severe injuries like traumatic brain injury, burns, amputation and spinal cord damage.

With a dram shop claim, the child can sue the bar, restaurant, etc. and pursue compensation from the business’s insurance company. This means potentially millions more dollars available.

For the child to have a dram shop claim under Minnesota law (Minn. Statutes, Section 340.801, Subdivision 1) , the following must be proven:

  1. The bar must have served alcohol illegally–after hours, without a license to serve liquor, to someone under the legal drinking age (21), or to someone obviously intoxicated “over-served”;
  2. The alcohol served contributed to the intoxicated state of the driver at the time of the crash;
  3. The drunk driver was at fault for the accident;
  4. The child’s injuries were caused by the crash.

Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman are our lead lawyers for these cases. When you hire them to represent your child, they immediately investigate to determine if there is a dram shop claim. Their past successes have provided the law firm with the resources to aggressively pursue wrongdoers on behalf of injured children. They have won millions for their clients, including a recent $2,560,000  recovery for a client who suffered brain damage.

Our law firm has offices in Minneapolis, MN, and our lawyers travel throughout the state representing clients in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, including in the Twin Cities area, Mpls, St. Paul, St. Cloud, Duluth, Rochester, Mankato, Bemidji, Brainerd, Moorhead, Thief River Falls.

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Category: Accidents
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