How Dram Shop Liability Could Affect Your Accident Claim
Most people are aware that driving while intoxicated is illegal and that those who injure someone while driving under the influence can be held liable for resulting damages. Unfortunately, there are often factors that hinder an injured party’s ability to recover the full scope of his or her losses in these situations. For this reason, claimants who are injured in these types of accidents are often encouraged to look to third party liability as a means of recovering damages to compensate them for lost wages and medical bills.
However, it can be difficult to hold multiple parties liable for an accident, even when it is clear that they were at fault, so if you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, it is important to speak with an experienced DUI accident attorney who can help you seek the full amount of compensation for your losses.
Challenges to Securing Compensation from Intoxicated Drivers
A number of different issues can make it difficult for those who are injured in accidents caused by intoxicated drivers to recover damages. It is not uncommon in these types of cases, for instance, for more than one party to be responsible for the accident in question. Generally, the more parties are involved in a suit, the more complicated it becomes to hold them liable, as the court will need to decide who was at fault for what percentage of the crash. For plaintiffs, having an experienced car accident attorney on their side can make all the difference in ensuring that all responsible parties are held accountable for their negligent or reckless actions.
What is Dram Shop Liability?
Florida is one of 43 states that has a dram shop law, under which establishments and individuals that serve alcohol can be held liable for damages caused by intoxicated customers or guests. There are, however, a number of limitations to Florida’s dram shop law. Bars and social hosts, for example, cannot be held liable for accidents caused by intoxicated drivers who are of lawful drinking age, except in specific situations. Similarly, businesses can usually not be held liable for serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated guests. Generally, a bar, restaurant, or social host can only be held liable for damages resulting from an intoxicated customer or guest’s actions if:
- The establishment or social host willfully served someone who was under the age of 21 years old; or
- An establishment served an intoxicated patron who it knew was habitually addicted to the use of alcohol.
Florida’s dram shop laws create an extremely narrow scope of liability for social hosts, bars, and alcohol vendors. They also require plaintiffs to prove specific elements in order to recover damages, so it is critical for those who are injured in accidents caused by drunk drivers, to speak with an experienced attorney before pursuing a claim against a negligent third party.
Call Today for Legal Assistance
If you were involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver, please call 954-566-9919 to discuss your legal options with one of the dedicated Fort Lauderdale DUI accident attorneys at Boone & Davis. You can also reach a member of our legal team via online message.