Trim the tree. Hang festive lights. Bake delicious treats. Pour the eggnog. The holiday season is upon us. Although celebrations with friends and family can make this a truly special time of year, drunk drivers can also make the holiday season the most hazardous time of year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are particularly dangerous on our nation’s roadways. The agency has launched an aggressive preholiday season drunk driving prevention program, designed to reduce the number of impaired drivers. —

Despite these efforts, some partygoers climb behind the wheel after a night of excessive drinking at bars, office parties or household dinners. A collision with one of these drunk drivers can transform a joyous occasion into a nightmare.

The criminal court is likely to order restitution if the drunk driver who injured you is convicted. However, the result is typically not enough money to cover the damages you have suffered. As the driver is being prosecuted in criminal court, consider your rights to damages through civil personal injury litigation as well:

  • Under Ohio’s dram shop laws, a victim of a drunk driving accident may have recourse against the driver and the commercial establishment responsible for the driver’s impaired condition.
  • Ohio’s social hosts statutes hold adults responsible for serving alcohol during an event or house party to intoxicated minors who then cause injuries.

These codes are especially important if the driver is uninsured or underinsured and cannot pay the amount of damages she or he has caused.

These statutes also highlight how you can help keep the roadways safe this holiday season. Avoid being the defendant in a dram shop or social host claim by taking responsibility for how much liquor you serve at your holiday party.

A Cleveland personal injury attorney can offer additional guidance and legal assistance.