Jami S. Oliver voted 2024 “Lawyer of the Year”, Columbus, OH

Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs by Best Lawyers in America

Jami S. Oliver also named Best Lawyers 2024 in three areas of practice:
Litigation – Labor & Employment, Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs, and Product Liability Law – Plaintiffs

Ohio Expands Alcohol Access

| Distracted Driving

At a time when many states are thinking about reducing their BAC limits and taking other such steps, the Buckeye State is moving in the opposite direction.

Senate Bill 102 took effect earlier in the spring of 2023. The new law also allows homebrewing enthusiasts to make and serve homemade beer and wine without a permit at tasting events on private property. These events can even be held at small breweries, wineries and micro distilleries. Furthermore, since the pandemic increased outdoor activities, Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas, or DORA, are now legal in the state. DORAs let patrons purchase and drink alcoholic beverages in designated outdoor areas which are exempt from certain Ohio open container laws.

This law also allows people under 19 to handle, sell, and serve alcohol in some situations. Additionally, SB 102 ends some social media advertising restrictions.

Driver Impairment and Ordinary Negligence

The current .08 BAC level is a compromise between safety advocates and the hospitality industry. Sensory impairment begins with the first sip of alcohol. This impairment includes clouded judgment and slow reactions. Evidence of impairment usually includes physical symptoms, like:

  • Bloodshot eyes,
  • Odor of alcohol,
  • Slurred speech, and
  • Unsteady balance.

Individually, these symptoms don’t prove impairment or even consumption. Lots of things, such as smoking and fatigue, cause bloodshot eyes. But the burden of proof in a civil case is only a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. So, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Other evidence of impairment includes erratic driving before the wreck, prior alcohol purchases, and the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) statements about alcohol consumption.

The duty of care requires drivers to be at their best before they get behind the wheel. A sip of wine during a religious ceremony probably isn’t a lack of care. But anything beyond that is probably a breach of care, meaning that compensation is available.

Driver Intoxication and Negligence Per Se

New laws may have expanded alcohol consumption. But they didn’t alter the DUI law. It’s still illegal to drink and drive, even if the drinking part was legal. It’s also illegal to drive under the influence of drugs, even if that drug is a prescription pain pill, over-the-counter medicine, or other legal substance.

If a tortfeasor violates a safety law and causes a crash, the tortfeasor is liable for damages as a matter of law. A Columbus distracted driving attorney usually introduces additional evidence, like the aforementioned proof, to increase the amount of compensation the victim/plaintiff receives.

The negligence per se doctrine usually applies even if the tortfeasor “beats” the DUI in criminal court. A civil jury determines all the facts in a civil case. That includes guilt or innocence of a DUI or other infraction.

Contact a Diligent Franklin County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Columbus, contact the Oliver Law Office. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters. Call us now at (614)-220-9100 or contact us online to schedule your case evaluation and to learn more about your legal options.



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