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In Drunk Driving Accidents, Bar May Also be Responsible

When someone is hurt in a Florida drunk driving accident, the injuries are often severe. In many Florida DUI accidents, the intoxicated motorist is traveling at a high rate of speed, traveling the wrong way down a one-way road, or entering an intersection without yielding to a traffic signal. These accidents may result in a high-speed, direct-impact collision.

Regardless of the specific type of accident, anyone who is injured in a Florida drunk driving accident can pursue a claim for damages against the responsible parties. The obvious party to name in this type of claim is the drunk driver. However, liability may not stop there. Under Florida’s Dram Shop law, an accident victim may be able to pursue a claim for compensation against the individual or business who provided alcohol to the intoxicated driver.

Florida’s Dram Shop law is contained in Florida Statutes section 768.125, and provides two situations in which a third-party can be responsible for injuries to a person who was injured due to the third party’s decision to provide to another.

The first situations where the Florida Dram Shop rule applies is when an individual or establishment “willfully and unlawfully sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person who is not of lawful drinking age.” An example of this would be a restaurant manager who serves his friends’ children alcohol, knowing that they are underage.

The second situation in which the Dram Shop law applies is when an individual or establishment “knowingly serves a person habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages.” Interestingly, unlike many other states’ dram shop laws, the language contained in the Florida statute does not reference visible signs of intoxication and instead requires that the person providing alcohol “knows” that the customer is addicted to alcohol. This introduces an element of historical knowledge that may not necessarily be present in a scenario where a bartender over-serves a customer, unless the customer is a frequent visitor.

While the Florida Dram Shop allows for injury victims to hold those who sell alcohol to customers liable in some situations, the state does not provide for social host liability. Social host liability is similar to dram shop liability, except that it applies to non-commercial, social guests. For example, in Florida, a host who allows guests to become intoxicated at a dinner party would not likely be liable for any injuries caused by guests on their drive home.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida DUI Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida DUI accident, there may be more than one responsible party. Restaurant and bar owners owe a duty to serve alcohol responsibly, and when they fail to take the necessary precautions everyone’s life is put at risk. At Cecere Santana, we have decades of experience bringing Florida DUI cases against drunk drivers and the establishments that served them past the point of intoxication. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation, call 800-753-5529 to schedule a free consultation today.

See Additional Blog Posts:

Wrongful Death Claims Following Florida Auto Accidents, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, September 5, 2018.

The Importance of Uninsured Motorist Protection in Florida, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, published October 1, 2018.

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