When a drunk driver causes an accident on the road, any resulting victims have the option to seek civil damages against that driver in the form of a personal injury suit. However, in some cases, the driver isn't the only party that can be found liable for these accidents. When certain requirements are met, Florida's "dram shop" laws allow accident victims to hold vendors who serve drunk drivers alcohol liable for their injuries.
What Are "Dram Shop" Laws?
Many states across the country, Florida included, have some form of "dram shop" laws that allow injury victims to hold parties who serve drunk drivers alcohol liable for any resulting damages. In Florida, this is codified in Florida Statutes section 768.125. Contained in that statute, however, are very specific circumstances in which these vendors can be held accountable for an accident.
These circumstances are:
- When the vendor knows the driver has an alcohol abuse problem
- When the vendor knows that the driver is under the age of 21
Limitations on Liability
There are some notable exceptions to Florida's dram shop laws. For instance, unlike many other states, bars and restaurants in Florida cannot be held liable for serving alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated. As long as they are of legal drinking age and do not have a known drinking addiction, a visibly intoxicated person can be served more drinks.
It's also important to understand that Florida's dram shop laws only apply commercial entities, not particular individuals. So, for instance, if you host a gathering at your home and serve someone alcohol who later drives and hurts someone, you cannot be held liable under our state's dram shop laws. These only apply to bars and restaurants.
If you have been hurt due to the actions of a drunk driver, then it is possible to seek damages from them and possibly other responsible parties. At Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC, our Martin County car accident lawyers have more than seven decades of combined legal experience in this practice area. We know how to recognize liabilities in these cases and compellingly put for our clients' claims for compensation both in and outside the courtroom.
Want to start exploring your injury suit options? We're ready to hear your story. Contact us today.