Who is Liable in a Collision Involving a Drunk Driver?

The answer may surprise you…

Driving while intoxicated is a serious offense. Duty of Care is the legal expectation that you are able to operate the vehicle with awareness in order to keep yourself and others safe. We all know that alcohol diminishes this ability. So, when someone under the influence causes an accident, are they the only one at fault? What about the establishment that served them drinks?

Most states in America have laws created to add an extra defendant liable to deflect the over-consumption of alcohol in the hopes of decreasing the number of accidents occurring as a result of the same. These are referred to as dram shop laws. These laws may make the establishment comparatively liable for accidents caused by their patrons even after they have left the building.

Florida Statutes section 768.125 explains…

“A person who sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person of lawful drinking age shall not thereby become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such person, except that a person who willfully and unlawfully sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person who is not of lawful drinking age or who knowingly serves a person habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages may become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such minor or person.”

In summary, the major components to dram sham laws in Florida are as follows:

  • Serving alcohol to someone underage
  • Serving alcohol to a known alcoholic
  • The Visibly Intoxicated Standard

Florida maintains a standard of visible intoxication, along with other states. The standard is met if:

  • An establishment serves a visibly intoxicated patron, and
  • The workers at the establishment knew – or should have known – the patron was intoxicated and a danger to others
  • They served an amount they knew would lead to intoxication

Please bear in mind that there is a statute of limitations in place when filing a case against an establishment. The length is the same as filing a standard personal injury claim, four years. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a drunk driver, you should speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. It takes time to file a lawsuit, finding an attorney is only the first step in beginning the legal process. Also, the more time that passes may reflect negatively when it comes to adequate compensation for your injuries.

The compensation recoverable is similar to the recoverable in a standard personal injury claim. They are these:

  • Medical bills for any and all injuries, including hospitalization, therapy, medication, and rehabilitation
  • Wages lost due to injury
  • Replacement costs for damaged or destroyed property
  • Pain and suffering

Legally Pink Law was established in 2010 by Attorney Carolyn Salzmann after a decade of providing counsel for the TV law firms in the Central Florida area. More than a decade later, Legally Pink Law has grown, the firm now has three female attorneys. They will fight for your rights and wear pink while doing it! Contact us today for your free consultation.

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