Florida’s Dram Shop Law
Most people realize that when someone is injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, he or she can attempt to collect compensation from the at-fault motorist. Few are aware, however, that victims of drunk driving accidents can also hold the person who sold alcohol to the intoxicated driver liable for their injuries. In many cases, this enables injured parties to recover the entire amount that they were forced to spend on medical bills and vehicle repair, which might not have been possible if the drunk driver’s insurance wasn’t sufficient to cover the total. For help filing your own claim against a drunk driver or the restaurant or bar that served him or her prior to the accident, you should call an experienced car accident lawyer who can assist you.
Who Can be Held Liable?
Aside from the drunk driver who caused an accident, an injured party might also be able to recover compensation from the person who served alcohol to that individual. However, this is only possible if the injured party can demonstrate that the person served was a minor or that the server knowingly provided alcohol to someone who was addicted to the substance. The terms of Florida’s dram shop law are actually much narrower than most states, which often allow injured parties to file claims against anyone who served a visibly intoxicated person if that individual later caused an accident.
Social Host Liability
Besides dram shop laws, many states also have statutes on the books that allow victims of drunk driving accidents to hold not only vendors responsible for serving the driver prior to the accident, but also any social host who served alcohol to that individual at a private gathering. However, Florida law does not currently cover these types of situations, although it is possible for a social host to face criminal penalties for providing alcohol to a minor. This means that an injured party’s only recourse may be the drunk driver him or herself or the vendor who supplied him or her with alcohol.
Statute of Limitations
Like any other type of injury claim, cases involving dram shop liability must be filed before the statute of limitations expires. In Florida, this means that injured parties can only file claims against the at-fault driver or the vendor that served him or her if they do so within four years of the date of the injury. Plaintiffs who miss this deadline will almost always have their case barred by the court, so having a clear understanding of these, and other legal deadlines, is crucial to the success of a dram shop liability claim.
Call Today if You Were Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident
The car accident attorneys at Boone & Davis in Fort Lauderdale have extensive experience representing those who have been injured in drunk driving accidents. To learn more about filing your own claim for damages, please call 954-566-9919 and a member of our legal team will help you schedule a free consultation at your earliest convenience. We are standing by and eager to help you through each step of your case.