Drunk driving is a significant problem in Florida and across the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drunk driving accounts for almost 30% of all traffic fatalities in the United States.
Drunk driving is a crime in Florida, and it is the leading cause of car accidents and deaths. There were 4,985 drunk driving accidents in Florida in 2019, causing 3,185 injuries and 374 deaths.
Dram Shop Laws in Florida
Dram shop laws hold establishments that serve alcohol liable for injuries or damages caused by intoxicated patrons.
In Florida, no specific dram shop laws hold bars, restaurants or other establishments that serve alcohol responsible for drunk driving accidents. However, Florida has a law that keeps people who serve alcohol to someone who is “habitually addicted” to alcohol liable for injuries or damages caused by that person.
Under this Florida law, a person is considered “habitually addicted” to alcohol if they have a repeated pattern of indulging in alcoholic beverages to the point where they are physically dependent on alcohol.
If a bartender or server at a bar serves alcohol to someone who is habitually addicted and that person causes an accident while driving drunk, the bar could be held liable for any injuries or damages caused.
Limitations on Liability
It is important to note that the Dram Shop Law in Florida has limitations on liability. For example, if the person who caused the accident was over the legal drinking age and not habitually addicted to alcohol, the establishment may not be liable for the accident. Additionally, if the establishment can prove that the person who caused the accident consumed alcohol after leaving their establishment, they may not be held liable.
Also, the amount of money that can be given in a Dram Shop case is limited. For example, in Florida, the maximum sum of damages that can be gained in a personal injury case is $500,000; in a wrongful death case, it is $1,000,000.
Proving Liability in a Drunk Driving Accident
To prove liability in a drunk driving accident, the plaintiff must show that the bar or establishment served alcohol to someone habitually addicted and that the patron caused an accident while driving drunk. The plaintiff must also show that the accident directly resulted from the patron’s intoxication and that the patron’s intoxication was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries or damages.
If a plaintiff can prove all of these things, they may be able to get compensation from the bar or other business that served alcohol to a person who drank too much regularly. It can be hard to prove fault in an accident that happened because of a drunk driver. Working with a personal injury lawyer with experience in DUI cases is crucial and can help you through the legal process.
Seek the Council of an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one have fallen victim to a drunk driving accident, reach out to Ligori & Ligori. One of our team’s experienced personal injury attorneys can determine your legal options and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us to schedule a free consultation immediately.
Posted on behalf of