Drunk driving is a severe problem. Countless individuals are either severely hurt or killed in drunk driving crashes every year in the U.S. Many lawmakers have enacted dram shop laws to address this problem. Florida is one of 43 states that has adopted such legislation. These laws allow for crash victims to hold all negligent parties accountable for their role in causing a drunk driving accident.
What are dram shop laws?
Many adults consume alcohol while at home, out at a restaurant or a bar. Underage individuals often do so privately at a house party, at the lake or a barbeque. Restaurant servers and bartenders are supposed to cut their customers off after a certain amount of drinks or when they get buzzed so that they don’t become intoxicated. Many don’t, though. Virtually every state has laws on the books that prohibit individuals of age from purchasing alcohol for those who are too young to drink.
States that have dram shop laws on the books allow for anyone who was injured or suffered a loss in a drunk driving crash to file a lawsuit against the retailer or vendor who provided the negligent motorist with alcohol. Plaintiffs can even sue both an alcoholic beverage retailer and the drunk driver in some cases.
A drunk driving accident victim may even be able to sue the individual who provided alcoholic beverages to a minor or any party that told its guest that a drink was virgin when it was spiked instead.
Proving a dram shop law case
Plaintiffs must generally be able to show proof that the drunk motorist got their alcohol from a particular vendor or retailer. They must be able to demonstrate the direct correlation between how much the negligent motorist consumed and their degree of intoxication. The plaintiff must also prove that the intoxicated driver either injured or caused damages to a third party.
Sorting out liability in Florida drunk driving cases where dram shop laws are also in effect isn’t easy. An attorney will want to learn a bit more about your Sarasota collision before advising you about your options for holding an intoxicated motorist accountable for their actions in your case.