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How Dram Shop Laws May Help Accident Victims Seek Financial Recovery

Drunk driving has been plaguing the country for decades, and Florida is no exception. According to a statistic released by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in Florida alone there have already been almost 700 fatalities caused by drunk driving in the year to date. This figure represents about one-third of all fatal traffic accidents.

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In hopes of curbing drunk driving, Florida legislators passed a Dram Shop Law decades ago to help hold the establishments that serve liquor to those who later go on to cause an accident responsible for their actions. Dram Shop Laws have been around for many years, and about 30 states have some form of them. In its most basic form, the law allows for the victim of a drunk driving accident to hold the establishment financially responsible for their injuries.

Of course, in order to prove a Dram Shop case in Florida, the plaintiff must prove certain elements. Specifically, Florida allows Dram Shop liability in two circumstances. The first is when an establishment provides alcohol to a minor, who then goes on to cause an accident. This scenario is fairly cut-and-dry. However, the second situation when Dram Shop liability may attach is when someone “knowingly serves a person habitually addicted to” alcohol, and that person goes on to cause an accident. Of course, this is more open to interpretation and may allow for a broader range of liability.

Recent Example of Dram Shop Application

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in favor of a plaintiff whose father was killed after he was over-served at a bar and then went on to cause an accident resulting in his death. The woman filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the establishment, alleging that her father’s death was caused by the establishment over-serving him.

The woman submitted evidence in the form of interviews from people who were present on the day of the accident. However, she was not there herself. The establishment challenged the woman’s complaint, arguing that the claims made were not based on personal knowledge. After hearing argument on the issue, the court determined that the plaintiff’s case should be permitted to move toward trial because there was no requirement that the complaint be based entirely on personal knowledge. As a result, the woman may still be able to obtain compensation for her father’s death.

Have You Been Involved in a Drunk Driving Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a Florida auto accident caused by drunk driving, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Aside from the driver, you may also be able to name the establishment that served the driver to the point of intoxication. To learn more about Dram Shop cases in Florida, and to speak with a dedicated personal injury attorney, call one of the skilled lawyers at Cecere Santana. At Cecere Santana, we understand that being involved in an accident is a traumatic experience, even after the physical recovery, and we tailor our representation as such. Call 800-753-5529 to set up a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Unexplained South Florida Accidents May Be the Result of Distracted Driving, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 3, 2016.

The Importance of Honesty and Diligence in the Pre-Trial Discovery Phase of a Personal Injury Lawsuit, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published April 25, 2016.

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