Dram Shop Liability
Drunk driving is responsible for thousands of deaths throughout the United States every year. Despite lawmakers increasing penalties and running campaigns to educate people on the dangers of drunk driving, it persists. In Florida alone, there were 799 fatalities caused by impaired driving in 2021.
Florida is a tourism state. People come to Florida from all over the world to relax, go to the beach or theme parks, and vacation with their friends and families. Oftentimes, vacationers want to relax by having a drink at a local restaurant, bar, or hotel. To protect these establishments from liability for over-serving patrons, and potentially causing them to leave the state, the Florida legislature enacted an anti-dram shop law which is contrary to the law in many other states.
Unlike many states, Florida does not hold an establishment, vendor or social host responsible for serving alcohol to a person who already appears to be intoxicated. It only allows for liability if alcohol is served to a known “habitually addicted” person or a minor.
While proving that a person is “habitually addicted” to alcohol is often difficult to prove, it is not impossible. If you or a loved one was injured or lost their life due to a drunk driver, it is important to hire an attorney as soon as possible who can help prevent the destruction of critical evidence. Finding out which establishment served the alcohol, how many drinks the person had, and speaking to servers who may know the drunk driver’s habits is crucial before receipts disappear, cameras are erased, or staff leaves to their next employer. Call the attorneys at Warner & Fitzmartin immediately and we will help investigate whether there is a claim against the drinking establishment.