Negligent Alcohol Sale
Drunk drivers cause thousands of accidents in Florida every year, bringing tragic injuries and even death to innocent people. Victims can sue drunk drivers, but often these drivers are under- or uninsured and have few assets to satisfy a judgment. Survivors of alcohol-related accidents may face serious financial consequences, including expensive medical care, lost wages, loss of income from being unable to work, repair or replacement of property, funeral expenses, and more.
However, people who suffer serious or fatal injuries at the hands of drunk drivers may be able to seek compensation from businesses or individuals that serve or sell alcohol to people who become intoxicated and cause accidents. Many states have “dram shop” laws or statutes which allow victims to pursue liability claims against establishments that provide the alcohol to drunk drivers who are involved in accidents and cause injuries or other damage. In Florida, dram shop law allows injured people to claim damages from individuals or businesses that serve alcohol to habitual drinkers or underage people:
- Retail establishments, restaurants, and bars can sometimes be held responsible for serving or selling alcohol to people who regularly consume high volumes of alcohol.
- Selling or serving alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 is illegal. If an establishment fails to check the identification of a person under age 21 who purchases alcohol, becomes intoxicated, and causes an accident, the establishment is liable. Often they may still be liable if the underage drinker uses false identification.
- Homeowners may be held liable for serving or over-serving alcohol to guests who they know are habitual drinkers, or for serving alcohol to any minors.
- Businesses that serve alcohol at corporate events may have an obligation to monitor the consumption of alcohol at the event and prevent minors or habitual alcoholics from drinking.
The Florida laws governing negligent alcohol service are very specific and apply only in certain circumstances. If you or a loved one was involved in an drunk driving accident, you should immediately seek the advice of an experienced attorney to determine if you have a valid claim against not only the drunk driver, but also any person or business that negligently served alcohol to an intoxicated adult or illegally sold or served alcohol to a minor.Contact a Miami drunk driving accident attorney as soon as possible
These claims can be difficult to pursue – for example, it can be hard to prove that an establishment knew that a patron had an alcohol problem. That’s why it’s extremely important to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the circumstances surrounding negligent service of alcohol immediately, to clearly establish the connection between the drunk driver and any liable parties:
- Witness statements, police and 911 records and photographs, breathalyzer results, medical records, and other evidence should be collected.
- Evidence of a driver’s arrest history or court-ordered alcohol rehabilitation should be documented.
- Video/digital surveillance may be in use at the point of purchase, but the files may be erased or deleted after a specific period, such as 30 or 90 days.
- Receipts for alcohol purchases need to be located and preserved.
If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver or lost a loved one due to the irresponsible behavior of an intoxicated driver in South Florida, contact an experienced Miami car accident lawyer at Friedman, Rodman, & Frank as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. We will assist you in locating any negligent parties and holding them responsible for your losses. Complete our online form or contact us at 305-448-8585 or toll free at 877-448-8585 for a free consultation in English, Spanish, or Creole.