If you have been injured by an inebriated driver, your first instinct might be to file a lawsuit against them. However, you might have other avenues for fair financial compensation beyond the driver that struck you. Under state law, the party that served the drunk driver with alcohol could also be responsible for your damages, thanks to something known as the dram shop law.
These laws provide injury victims with the chance to hold negligent bars and establishments accountable when they overserve to someone. With happy hour “two for one” specials and jumbo-sized drinks, many Florida bars go out of their way to promote over-consumption of alcohol. These promotions may do more than fatten the bar or restaurant’s bottom line. They can put the rest of us at risk.
With the help of a skilled personal injury attorney, it could be possible to secure a judgment against a bar, hotel, restaurant, or other business where alcohol is served. Let an Orlando dram shop liability lawyer help you pursue fair compensation for your accident.
Florida’s dram shop law allows injury victims to pursue compensation from alcohol vendors, but the situations where this law is available are fairly limited. The law specifically targets vendors that sell alcohol for immediate consumption. An Orlando attorney could help explain when dram shop liability applies.
In general, there are two circumstances where dram shop liability applies to an alcohol vendor. The first is when they “willfully and unlawfully” provide alcohol to a person that is below the age of 21. Selling alcohol to minors who go on to cause a drunk driving accident is one of the most common situations that could lead to dram shop liability.
But not all of these cases are related to minors consuming alcohol. The second circumstance where this statute comes into play is when a vendor knowingly sells alcohol to an individual that they know to be “habitually addicted” to alcohol. This can be a challenging thing to establish, since it is subjective as to whether or not a person is habitually addicted to alcohol.
The language of the dram shop statute could lead someone to believe that it applies not only to bars and businesses but also to social hosts as well. Despite this common reading of the statute, state courts have repeatedly held that the law only applies to vendors serving alcohol for immediate consumption. This means that alcohol served at social gatherings will not qualify for legal action under the dram shop statute.
A dram shop liability case is like other civil lawsuits when it comes to available compensation. If an Orlando dram shop liability attorney is successful, they could recover an array of compensation on behalf of an injury victim.
The most common types of damages covered in these cases involve medical bills. Medical treatment following an accident with an intoxicated driver can be expensive. A successful civil suit could pay for those damages. In addition to medical expenses, some of the other damages that might be available in a dram shop liability case include pain and suffering, lost wages, disability, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and property damage.
If your injuries stem from a drunk driving accident, you could have multiple parties that are responsible. This could include the bar or restaurant that overserved the driver that injured you. Let an Orlando dram shop liability lawyer help you pursue financial compensation for your injuries. Call for a private consultation today.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys