Friday, March 4, 2016

Who Is Liable For An Alcohol Related St. Petersburg Injury?

In 2014, there was 807 alcohol-related[1] accident fatalities in the State of Florida.  Each state has laws that allow an injured person to seek compensation when another person causes an accident. When alcohol is involved, several states also have laws that allow an injured person to seek compensation from a third party, like the bar or social host, that provided the alcohol. 

Florida Statutes section 768.125[2] provides the specifics of the state's dram shop law as follows:

“A person who sells of 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.

Florida's statute does not mention serving alcohol to someone who is or appears to be intoxicated as it does in other states.  Florida law also does not impose liability on liquor stores selling closed containers intended to be consumed off premises. Williams v. Anheuser- Busch[3] Inc., 957 F.Supp 1246 (M.D. Fla. 1997).

Florida Claims Against Bar Owners

It can be more challenging to bring a suit against a bar when the individual who caused injuries or damages is over the age of 21, due to the fact that there is a knowledge requirement.  Based upon the terms of the statute, a bar will not be held liable unless the victim can prove that the bar owner or server knew that the individual had a habitual drinking problem and continued to serve him or her anyway. If it is determined that the owner or server knew about the individual’s drinking problem, the court may still decide that the bar is only partially liable for any injuries sustained by the victim.

Anyone who plans to file this type of claim against a bar or another commercial establishment should work with an experienced personal injury lawyer at the Dolman Law Group in St. Petersburg as it will be necessary to gather concrete evidence such as witness testimony that establishment owners and servers knew about the individual’s addiction to alcohol and continued to serve him or her to the point of intoxication.  There are other strategic considerations that a St. Petersburg dram shop attorney can bring to bear.

Social Hosts in Florida are not Liable

Florida's dram shop law holds vendors responsible when they serve alcohol to a minor or an alcohol-dependent person who then causes harm to another person, or to themselves. However, the same rule does not apply to social hosts who provide alcohol at private gatherings.  A social host may face criminal penalties for providing alcohol to a minor, but that liability does not apply to a civil case brought by someone damaged in a Florida alcohol-related accident.

St. Petersburg Damages in Dram Shop Cases

Dram shop cases are civil claims, which means they are filed by the injured person directly, and liability is expressed solely in terms of money damages.  Damages for losses suffered in a dram shop claim may include compensation for the following:

                       Medical: Medical bills, including the costs of emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, medication, and rehabilitation.

                       Income:  Lost wages, including wages and benefits that might   reasonably have been earned if the injuries had not caused the disability.

                       Property:  Costs for damaged or destroyed property.

                       Suffering:  Pain and suffering.

St. Petersburg Alcohol Related Accident Lawyers

If you are involved in an automobile or motorcycle accident where the individual responsible for the crash was intoxicated, it is imperative to speak to a St. Petersburg Alcohol Related Accident Attorney as soon as possible.  Contact Dolman Law Group today at 727-222-6922 to schedule your free legal consultation with our firm and learn more about seeking monetary compensation for your losses through a personal injury claim.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922


1 comment:

  1. I’m impressed with the surpassing and instructive blogs that you just provide in such very short timing.
    pedestrian struck