Clearwater Dram Shop Lawyer
Over 30 years
of Personal Injury Experience
Do You Need to Hire Board Certified Florida Dram Shop Lawyer Jim Magazine for Your DUI Accident Case?
If you suffered injuries in a DUI accident in Florida, the drunk driver may not be the only to blame. Under Florida’s liquor liability laws, the bar, restaurant, or other drinking establishment who served the intoxicated person may be able to be held legally liable for damages as well. Unfortunately, proving that the serving party violated Florida’s dram shop laws can be quite the challenge, especially if you aren’t familiar with liquor liability laws, or you don’t have the financial resources to investigate your case.
Florida dram shop lawyer Jim Magazine can help. With over 30 years of experience representing drunk driving accident victims in Florida, Jim is familiar with liquor liability laws in the state. He knows what it takes to make negligent drinking establishments pay.
What Is Florida’s Dram Shop Law?
Florida dram shop law, established in 1980, imposes liability on businesses when they violate state regulations and the people they serve alcohol to cause injury or fatality accidents. Under the law, victims who suffer injuries in DUI accidents can file lawsuits against third party drinking establishments that unlawfully served alcohol to the drunk driver who caused their crash.
Florida dram shop laws are different from the liquor liability laws in many other states. In Florida, the law doesn’t hold alcohol vendors liable for damages if they serve a patron who is visibly intoxicated.
For a third party entity to be held liable for damages caused in a DUI accident in Florida, one of the following must be established that:
Willfully Serving Alcohol to a Minor
In dram shop cases involving minors, negligence alone may not be enough to hold the drinking establishment liable for damages. Under Florida law, the defendant must have willfully sold the alcohol to a minor. This means the vendor must have known the person was an underage drinker. If there were no obvious indicators that the person was under the legal drinking age, or the minor presented a fake I.D., the vendor may not be able to be held liable.
In Florida, the bartender or server does not have to serve the minor directly to be held liable for injuries the underage drinker causes. If the defendant served alcohol to an adult knowing that eventually the drink would be consumed by the minor, it is often enough to establish liability.
Serving Alcohol to Someone Who Is “Habitually Addicted”
An entity that sells or serves alcohol to someone that they know is habitually addicted to the substance can be held liable for injuries caused by that person when he or she is intoxicated. In 1951, the Florida Supreme Court established that a person who is habitually addicted to alcohol is “someone whose habit of indulgence in strong drink is so fixed that he cannot resist getting drunk anytime the temptation is offered, with the inebriety frequent, excessive, and the dominant passion.”
There are various ways a victim’s dram shop attorney can prove that the defendant knew, or should have known, that the person was habitually addicted. One of the most common ways to demonstrate this is to introduce evidence showing that the vendor had served the person a substantial amount of alcohol often enough to be familiar with the person’s drinking habits.
Can Social Hosts Be Sued Under Florida’s Dram Shop Law?
Unlike some other states’ liquor liability laws, Florida’s dram shop laws do not generally apply to social hosts who serve drink at their residences or private gatherings. The laws usually only apply to businesses and individuals who sell alcoholic beverages to the public. If the person who is served alcohol is underage, however, the rules are different.
If social hosts allow people who are under 21 years of age to drink alcohol at a house party or another gathering at their residence, they can face civil liability for any resulting injuries.
What Damages Are Available in Florida Dram Shop Cases?
When you file a civil suit and the courts rule in your favor, you may be entitled to three types of damages.
Economic damages are generally easy to quantify, because they are demonstrated with financial documents like medical bills and wage statements. In Florida, there is no limit to the amount of economic damages you can recover.
It is more difficult to assign a monetary value to non-economic damages in Florida. These are abstract claims, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. Your lawyer will likely use your economic damages as a basis for figuring your non-economic damages.
In extreme cases, the courts may award punitive damages as well. These damages are intended to punish the defendant for intentional or especially egregious acts. Florida caps punitive damages at three times the amount of your compensatory damages or $500,000 – whichever is greater.
How Can a Dram Shop Lawyer Help Your DUI Accident Case?
It can be difficult to determine whether a third party drinking establishment, bartender, or server was responsible for contributing to a person’s intoxication. To identify liable parties, Clearwater dram shop lawyer Jim Magazine will investigate your case to see whether:
If it appears that a business or individual can be held liable for damages, dram shop lawyer Jim Magazine will evaluate your medical bills and other losses to estimate the fair value of your case. He will gather evidence, like statements from your medical providers.
DUI Accidents Aren’t the Only Cases Where Dram Shop Laws Apply
Although most dram shop cases in Florida involve drunk driving accidents, other types of injuries can bring rise to claims and lawsuits under dram shop laws in the state as well. Bars, restaurants, and other types of drinking establishments can be held liable for injuries caused by intoxicated people who:
Your Florida Dram Shop Case Could Be Worth Millions
Medical bills and lost wages can add up quickly, stripping your family of the financial resources you need to survive. If your injuries are severe, millions of dollars could be on the line. Unfortunately, many law firms in Florida are settlement mills. They lure in clients, push their clients to accept the first settlement offer, and then move on to the next injured victim. Injury attorney Jim Magazine, however, takes his clients’ cases to the next level. By investigating crucial details that other attorneys miss, identifying all parties who may be liable for damages, and fighting for your rights in court, Jim helps ensure your recovery is maximized.
Call Clearwater dram shop lawyer Jim Magazine today and let’s get started on your recovery.
Call Today: 727-499-9900
Over the years, car accident lawyer Jim Magazine has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of his clients.
trucking accident cervical fusion, and severe left arm injury
settlement on 100,000 dollar policy
trip and fall lumbar fusion
trucking accident that resulted in a 2 level cervical fusion
FAQs About Florida Dram Shop Cases
Unlike many states, Florida’s dram shop law does not mention liability for serving alcohol to an already intoxicated person. In Florida, dram shop law applies to knowingly and willingly serving alcohol to habitual addicts and minors.
If a bartender serves alcohol to a minor or known alcoholic, the establishment he or she works at can be held liable for damages. Florida is one of few states that also allows the drunk driver to sue the business.
Dram shop laws hold bars, restaurants, and other drinking establishments accountable for the injuries that happen when they serve alcohol to alcoholics and minors. Establishments can be sued if the intoxicated person causes a car accident, slip and fall, or other incident that injured himself or someone else.