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Who else may share responsibility for a drunk-driving accident?

Getting seriously injured by or losing a loved one to a drunk driver is a tragedy that no one should have to endure. Yet we know how big of a problem DUI actually is. According to Drunk Driving, 28 people per day are killed by drunk drivers in the United States. At least one person is injured in an alcohol-related crash every two minutes.

After an injurious or fatal crash, criminal charges alone are not enough. Your family may wish to seek compensation in the form of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. And if you do, you should know that other parties (besides the drunk driver) may share liability for the accident. As just one example, companies are often considered liable when their employees drive drunk while they are on the job or otherwise representing the organization.

Sadly, work is not a deterrent to binge drinking for many employees. According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 people who regularly travel for business, about 27 percent confessed that they drink heavily while on business trips. Female employees admitted to binge drinking at a rate of about 24 percent, while about 33 percent of men confessed to the same behavior.

Business trips are not the only situation involving on-the-clock drinking. Virtually any time an employee drives drunk after a company function where alcohol has been served, the company could potentially be held liable. This is true whether the work-sponsored function was held at the office or somewhere else (a bar, for instance).

There is nothing just or fair about suffering injury or losing a loved one because of someone else's decision to drink and drive. If that drunk driver could and should have been stopped by their employer or another responsible party, those other parties likely share liability for the consequences.

Source: Carrier Management, "Too Many Drinks on a Business Trip Can Heighten Employer Liability," Feb. 19, 2015

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