Many may remember the single car crash that killed the star of the “Jack Ass” movie franchise, Ryan Dunn and his passenger in June of last year. The parents of that passenger have recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Philadelphia County Court against the estate of Ryan Dunn as well as the downtown West Chester bar that served alcohol to the two men that night. Mr. Dunn was 34-years old and his passenger was only 30-years old when the car Mr. Dunn was driving drove off the road and crashed into a tree killing them both.
The plaintiffs in the suit allege that the loss of their son was the result of negligence and recklessness of both Mr. Dunn and the West Chester bar. The plaintiffs state the bar has a duty to prohibit the serving of alcohol to any person who already appears visibly intoxicated, and that included Ryan Dunn. The lawsuit also states that the estate of Mr. Dunn is also legally liable and responsible for the negligence and recklessness, among other violations committed by Mr. Dunn.
Reports at the time of the crash indicated the driver’s blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit after the crash. He lost control of the vehicle and crashed before the car became engulfed in flames. The lawsuit names the administrators of Mr. Dunn estate, which includes Mr. Dunn’s father and another person. The wrongful death lawsuit accused the West Chester bar of negligence and violating dram shop laws in contributing to the accident that killed the plaintiffs’ son.
Dram shop laws consist of state laws which allow victims of drunk drivers and their surviving family members to hold bars and retailers who sell alcohol accountable for the injuries, death and other damages caused by one of their customers. A successful lawsuit will result in damages, and sometimes punitive damages being awarded to the plaintiffs. In cases where more than one defendant is named, the damages are divided between the defendants based on a percentage of responsibility for each party as determined by the judge or jury.
Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, personal injury law firm which handles car accidents and wrongful death cases similar to the one depicted in today’s post.