When an individual is involved in an accident caused by another person,
there are laws and rules that allow the injured person to seek compensation.
In cases where alcohol is a factor, many states, including Florida, also
have laws that allow the injured person to seek compensation from the
third party that provided alcohol to the at-fault person. This is known
as a dram shop law. Alcohol was once sold by a unit measure called a “dram,”
which is where the law earned its name.
Florida’s Dram Shop Law
According to Florida’s dram shop law, if a person “willfully
and unlawfully” serves alcohol to either an individual under 21
or “knowingly” serves alcohol to an individual who is addicted
to alcohol, that person can be held liable for injuries caused by the
individuals he or she should not have served. The law does not mention
serving alcohol to someone who is clearly inebriated.
If, for example, Daniel stopped at a bar for a drink and the bartender
is aware that he is an alcoholic, but serves him anyway, and Daniel later
injures a pedestrian while driving home, the bar could be held liable.
This would apply as well if Daniel were under 21.
If Daniel were also injured in the accident, he could also seek damages
from the bar for serving him alcohol despite having known about his addiction.
Social Host Liability
Although vendors may be held responsible for serving alcohol to minors
or alcoholics, this rule does not apply to social hosts who serve alcohol
at private gatherings. If, for example, Daniel went to a friend’s
party, was served alcohol, and injured a pedestrian on his way home, the
host of that party would not be held liable for the pedestrian’s
injuries. The pedestrian can still file seek financial compensation from
Contact a Panama City Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, you may be able
to seek compensation from the establishment that served alcohol and the
drunk driver. Contact the Pittman Firm, P.A. today at (850) 724-4792.