If you have recently been injured in an accident with a drunk driver, you are probably feeling angry, and confused. There’s no good reason for these unfortunate incidents to happen, yet with the assistance of a skilled personal injury lawyer, you may at least be able to receive compensation for medical bills, loss of wages, and additional pain and suffering.
In making every attempt to secure maximum compensation, you may also be wondering if there are other parties you can hold liable for your accident. In addition to the driver, one party that you might assume would be a logical defendant in this type of case is the bar owner who served the drunk driver in question. However, holding a bar owner accountable in a drunk driving litigation is not necessarily easy.
Florida is one of 38 states to adopt a “dram shop rule.” These laws dictate that establishments including restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other businesses that serve alcohol can be found liable for damages following drunk driving accidents.
Under Florida Statutes Section 768.125, dram shop rules apply to:
- Establishments that willfully and knowingly serve alcohol to those who are underage;
- Establishments that willfully and knowing serve alcohol to individuals who are “habitually addicted” to drinking alcoholic beverages.
This means that you will have to prove that the driver in your case was either underage or an alcoholic. While the former may not be difficult to establish, determining if someone is addicted to alcohol under the legal definition can be more challenging.
This is why you will want to seek the assistance of a seasoned attorney. With the aid of experienced counsel, it will be easier to establish that the driver in your case had a history of alcohol abuse. The right attorney will also be able to prove why the bar owner who served the driver in question should have known they had a drinking problem. Furthermore, an attorney will work to establish negligence on the part of the bar owner connected to their reckless decision to serve an individual who was clearly intoxicated beyond the point of safety.
Bryan Caulfield: Fighting for Florida Accident Victims
Since 1988, Clearwater drunk driving accident lawyer Bryan Caulfield has been fighting for drunk driving victims and other injured individuals. As a Board Certified Civil Trial Layer, Attorney Caulfield has the knowledge, resources, and skills to provide you with the high standard of legal service you need. He will always argue for maximum compensation, and fight to make sure every party who played a role in your accident is held liable for damages.