What you need to know about Florida’s dram shop law

Florida car accident attorney

People are injured and killed every year in greater Orlando and throughout Florida in car accidents involving drunk drivers. Drunk driving is against the law. It is also negligent behavior and the victims of drunk drivers can file suit to recover financial compensation for their injuries. What about the bars, restaurants and liquor stores that served these drivers? Can they be sued?

The answer is yes – in certain cases. Florida’s dram shop law allows victims of drunk driving accidents to recover compensation from third parties.

What are dram shop laws?

Laws that cover these types of claims are called “dram shop” laws because they began when alcohol was sold by the dram – a unit of measure. Many states have dram shop laws that hold businesses liable if they provided alcohol to an intoxicated person who later caused an accident. It’s different in Florida.

In the Florida dram shop law, there is no mention of serving alcohol to someone who is intoxicated. The law instead discusses providing alcohol to “a person who is not of lawful drinking age” or “a person habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages.”

What kind of damages can be recovered in a dram shop claim?

A person who is injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver can seek financial compensation from a restaurant, bar or liquor store that served that driver. This includes compensation for:

  • Medical expenses (emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, medication, physical therapy, etc.)
  • Lost wages
  • Costs of damaged or destroyed property
  • Pain and suffering

These claims must also be filed before the statute of limitations expires. In Florida, these types of claims must be filed within four years of the date of the injury. It is best to get legal advice on dram shop claims as soon as possible after the accident, however.

Proving a drunk driver was underage is pretty straightforward. But how can you prove that a driver was “habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages”?

A law firm can investigate and gather evidence. Examples may include receipts that prove an establishment had provided multiple alcoholic beverages per visit to a person in the past. Witnesses may remember the driver drinking heavily on more than one occasion. Over time, evidence can be lost or destroyed and the memories of witnesses can fade. That’s why it’s important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible following a drunk driving accident.

Our firm is focused on results

The Law Offices of Scott M. Miller, PLLC fights for the rights of people who have been injured in drunk driving accidents. We know the impact an injury can have on victims and their families. We build strong cases and fight to help them recover the financial compensation they need and deserve. We also investigate to determine if a suit can be filed against a third party.

If you’ve been hurt in a drunk driving accident in Longwood or greater Orlando, learn more about how we can help. Call (407) 869-9996 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer.