Dram Shop Laws in Florida

There are multiple concepts under Florida personal injury laws that extend liability to individuals or entities other than the negligent party, which essentially impute fault to a party that might not even be anywhere near the scene of an accident. One is the principle of dram shop liability, a factor in many drunk driving collisions. This theory states that a bar or tavern may be held accountable for overserving someone who later causes a crash. Florida does have a dram shop law, but not one that supports the interests of DUI accident victims: The statute provides that an establishment cannot be liable under such circumstances. 

However, a ban on dram shop liability does not preclude other legal remedies for victims. It is still possible to recover compensation for your losses, and a Miami drunk driving accident lawyer can assist with challenges. Some information on your options and tips on what to do after a DUI crash are also helpful.

Legal Remedies for Drunk Driving Collisions 

Since you cannot pursue a bar or restaurant for serving an intoxicated person, you must resort to the same remedies as motor vehicle accidents not involving alcohol. The first step in the legal process is filing a claim with the at-fault motorist’s insurance company. Many cases settle, but insurers can be stingy even when proof of fault is clear and you have solid evidence of DUI. The next step is filing a lawsuit in court to recover compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Note that there is an exception under Florida’s dram shop law. An establishment is liable for all injuries and damage the bar knowingly served an intoxicated person who:

  • Was under the legal drinking age; OR,
  • Is habitually addicted to alcohol.

What to Do After a DUI Accident

It can be difficult to know what to do after the violent impact of a crash and the chaos that follows. Some tips will help you get through the experience, protect your health, and support your rights:

  • Call 911 to get police and first responders on the way.
  • Seek appropriate medical care for your injuries, either at a hospital emergency room, urgent care center, or your doctor.
  • Comply with your statutory duty to exchange contact, driver’s license, and insurance information.
  • As you interact with the drunk driver, be observant about the signs of impairment. Note the aroma of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, clumsy gestures, and slurred speech.
  • Avoid discussions about fault and how you think the accident happened.
  • If contacted by an insurance company, decline to answer questions or provide statements.

Set Up a Free Consultation With a Miami DUI Accidents Attorney

If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a drunk driving collision, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA to schedule a no-cost case review. You can reach our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL by calling (305) 371-6000 or visiting us online. After learning about your situation, we can advise you on your rights.

Florida Justice Association
The National Center for Victims of Crime
outh Florida Legal Guide
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