Despite the horrific statistics on alcohol-related car accidents, some people in Florida continue to drive drunk. When they do and are involved in a crash, the penalties are severe and the civil liability that may result can also be devastating. Many people are unaware of laws that pertain to bars, restaurants, liquor stores, and other businesses or even private hosts who serve alcohol. These laws vary state-by-state.
Dram shop or dramshop is a legal term in the United States referring to a bar, tavern or the like where alcoholic beverages are sold. Traditionally, it referred to a shop where spirits were sold by the dram, a small unit of liquid.
Dram shop liability refers to the body of law governing the liability of taverns, liquor stores, and other commercial establishments that serve alcoholic beverages. Generally, dram shop laws establish the liability of establishments arising out of the sale of alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons or minors who subsequently cause death or injury to third parties (those not having a relationship to the bar) as a result of alcohol-related car crashes and other accidents.
Florida is unlike most dram shop laws in the sense that it almost completely restricts the liability of establishments selling and serving alcohol. This makes Florida’s dram shop law very limited in scope and application. Florida Statute 768.125 states: Liability for injury or damage resulting from intoxication.—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.
Last year a Florida man sued Kahuna’s Bar and Grill in St. Petersburg, Florida after drinking at the establishment and then crashing his car. The press reported:
The suit claims that Campbell was a longtime patron of Kahuna’s. On several occasions, when it was clear he had too much to drink, bartenders and staff nevertheless continued serving Campbell, even taking shots of liquor with him. Due to his drunken state, Campbell had previously passed out, fallen face first to the ground, spilled beer on tables, and even vomited on the patio.
The status of this case is unknown.
Florida Accident Attorneys
The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus works with victims of car accidents, and often there is alcohol involved. Whatever the circumstances, we will work to get the facts and protect the rights of our clients as we have done for over 20 years. We urge all Florida drivers to not drink and drive, to refrain from and cell phone use while driving, and to obey all traffic laws.
If you have been involved in a Florida car accident, please reach out to us by calling 954-356-0006 and asking for a free consultation. We will be happy to meet you at your convenience.