When a person who is legally drunk causes an accident, victims can hold that individual liable for any injuries. But, can victims also hold the party who served the driver liable for those injuries? Below, we discuss how Florida dram shop and social host liability laws allow victims to hold third parties liable for drunk driving accidents.
What are dram shop and social host liability laws in Florida?
“Dram shop” liability refers to the responsibility a commercial establishment, like a bar or restaurant, may have if it serves alcohol to a customer who then injures another person.
“Social host” laws detail whether an individual is liable if he or she serves someone alcohol who then causes another party’s injuries.
Can I hold a bar or establishment liable for my injuries in a drunk driving crash?
In most cases, victims will be unable to hold a bar or establishment liable for a drunk driving accident.
Only when the bartender knows an individual is a minor (under 21) or “habitually addicted” to alcohol and “willfully and unlawfully” serves him or her anyway will Florida dram shop laws, found in Section 768.125, apply.
Essentially, this means that an establishment is only liable if it knew the driver was under 21 or had a known drinking problem (i.e., if the person was an alcoholic but the bartender did not know, you likely do not have a case).
Unfortunately, this means that even if a bar knows the driver was intoxicated and served him anyway, it will not be liable for your injuries.
Can I hold a “social host” liable?
Florida law does not impose liability on a social host. This is true even if the host knew the driver in question had a drinking problem and/or was intoxicated when he or she got behind the wheel.
If the host serves alcohol to people of lawful drinking age at a private gathering, there is no civil liability to the host if a guest gets intoxicated and injures someone, even if the guest in question is a minor.
However, the host may face penalties if the individual in question is a minor.
Determining whether you can hold an establishment liable is difficult. The legal team at Montero Law Center can examine your case and determine whether the establishment knew that the driver in your accident had a drinking problem or was underage.
What can I recover?
If you are able to prove that the establishment knew of the driver’s alcohol addiction or age, you may be able to recover compensation from that establishment as well as the driver. This compensation may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
If you or a loved one suffered injury in an accident caused by an intoxicated person, call a drunk driving accident lawyer at the Montero Law Center today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal rights. We can help you determine whether you may be able to hold an establishment liable for your injuries. Call us at 954-767-6500.