Dram shop laws refer to the statutes governing the liability of places that sell alcohol. In an accident, like a drunk driving accident, these laws can dictate whether you can file a lawsuit against the dram shop for serving the person who injured you.
These laws differ by state, so Florida has its laws with rules for filing suits. Our law firm’s Fort Lauderdale drunk driving accident lawyers can determine if dram shop laws affect your case.
What Are Dram Shop Laws?
The word “dram” is often confusing, but it just refers to alcohol. Therefore, dram shops are anywhere with a license to sell alcohol. That can include bars, restaurants, hotels, breweries, and liquor stores.
Dram shop laws outline the circumstances in which injured parties can hold a dram shop liable. Lawsuits against dram shops are usually third-party suits, meaning someone else hurt you, but you hold the business responsible for contributing.
Find a Personal Injury Lawyer,
Near Me (855) 529-0269
What Are the Dram Shop Laws in Florida?
Florida Statutes § 768.125 is the state’s dram shop law. It protects businesses from liability in most cases, with two notable exceptions:
- When the person served by the business was under the legal drinking age
- When the person served was habitually addicted to alcohol
Serving alcohol to someone underage is a crime, so it makes sense that the law wouldn’t protect establishments from liability in this case. All servers should check to make sure a patron is over the age of 21.
The second part of the Florida dram shop law refers to knowingly serving someone who has demonstrated a problem with alcohol. While it’s sometimes harder to prove that a server knew an intoxicated customer had an alcohol dependence, our team can work to gather evidence showing the drinker’s history with an establishment.
How Do Florida Dram Shop Laws Affect Drunk Driving Accident Cases?
If a drunk driver has injured you, you may have bills, lost income, and other losses that exceed what a driver can pay, either through insurance or a lawsuit. If this happens, our car accident lawyers will look into other parties who have some liability in your case. Naturally, this can lead us to look at the place where the driver got drunk.
While Florida’s laws largely protect businesses from liability, the exceptions allow you to seek additional damages from a place that serves liquor. This can prove vital if you suffer severe injuries such as spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, loss of limb, or disfigurement.
Who Is Liable Under These Laws?
“Dram shop” is a general term. The party you file a dram shop lawsuit against can depend on the circumstances. Liable parties include:
- Business owners
Everyone working at businesses that sell alcohol has a duty of care not to serve individuals under the lawful drinking age or those with an alcohol addiction.
Click to contact Chalik & Chalik's personal injury lawyers today
How Can a Lawyer Use Dram Shop Laws to Prove Negligence in Florida?
One important distinction in these cases is that servers had to have knowingly and/or willingly served the person who later injured you. This means our personal injury lawyers must collect evidence to establish when and how the driver was served.
This can require some detective work on our part, but we have experience with looking into these kinds of cases. While dram shop liability is sometimes challenging due to the specificity of the law, we aren’t afraid to look into the possibility.
Proving a Dram Shop Knew the Driver Was Under 21
The business and employees must have willingly sold or given alcohol to the underage individuals. Proving this scenario usually involves retracing the driver’s steps through:
- Witness testimony at the business
- Receipts or credit card bills
- Security camera footage at the business
- Traffic camera footage along the route
The fact that the intoxicated driver who hit you was under 21 is already a crucial piece of evidence in this case. Our job is then to connect their movements with the dram shop.
Proving a Dram Shop Knew the Driver Was Addicted to Alcohol
This is a less straightforward scenario but still a possible route to recovering damages. We can use the same evidence as the previous situation and delve into the driver’s background with the business.
For instance, if the driver who hit you was known to frequent the same bar regularly, with receipts, video footage, and testimony to back it up, we can argue that the driver clearly had a problem with alcohol. We can also highlight their behavior on the day in question, using evidence to show they were overserved and should have been cut off.
For a free legal consultation call (855) 529-0269
What If You Lose Someone to a Drunk Driving Accident in Florida?
We can also hold dram shops liable for the role they played in a fatal accident. Our fatal car accident lawyers can investigate your loved one’s death to see if the other driver was negligently served alcohol.
We can then pursue a wrongful death suit against the business to recover damages for:
- Medical bills and care before your family member’s passing
- Funeral services and burial or cremation, according to their wishes
- Income your family will lose now that your loved one can’t provide it
- Pain and suffering damages for your grief and loss
How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit in a Dram Shop Case?
In personal injury and wrongful death cases, injured parties generally have two years to file a lawsuit in Florida. That said, given that dram shop liability cases take some investigating to gather sufficient evidence to pursue a suit, don’t wait before taking legal action.
If you wait until the statute of limitations almost expires, our team has less time to prepare your case. Waiting to file could also put your possible damages in jeopardy. Since many victims pursue these types of cases to maximize their compensation, don’t delay considering this option.
You deserve damages from every party responsible for your losses, including mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life, among others.
Call Us: We Can Explain How Florida’s Dram Shop Laws Could Affect a DUI Case
Call Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers today to get a free consultation on your drunk driving case. In fact, we can handle any case where you were injured by someone’s intoxication, whether on the road or in other situations.
Our personal injury lawyers handle investigating dram shop cases and can work to connect a business’s negligence with your injuries. Call us now.
Call or text Chalik & Chalik (855) 529-0269