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Can Someone Other than the Drunk Driver be Responsible for a Drunk Driving Accident?

Andrew Sholtes

Drunk driving is a preventable problem in Florida and throughout the United States. In fact, drunk driving accidents cause 290,000 injuries per year, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Many victims suffer injuries from drunk driving accidents without considering that not only is the drunk driver is responsible for the accident, but a local restaurant or bar may also be liable if an investigation reveals that the driver was at a restaurant or bar just prior to the drunk driving accident.

Example of Drunk Driving in Florida

Just last year an article in the TCPalm reported that a Florida man was arrested for driving under the influence in Indian River County. The man said he wasn’t drinking and driving because he consumed alcohol at stop signs and traffic signals on his way from Port St. Lucie to Indian River County.

Fortunately, this incident did not result in a drunk driving accident. Hypothetically, if the man had consumed alcohol at a restaurant or bar and caused a drunk driving accident, the establishment may have contributed to the accident by serving him alcoholic drinks.

How Can a Restaurant Be Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident?

A restaurant or bar may be liable for a drunk driving accident under what’s known as dram shop laws. A dram shop is an establishment such where alcoholic drinks are sold. The name dram shop derives from England where the establishments served alcoholic drinks by the dram, or a spoonful.

Florida’s Dram Shop Laws Differ from Other States

Dram shop laws vary from state to state. Florida law concerning dram shop issues is unique. For a drunk driving victim to hold a restaurant or bar liable for injuries as a result of a drunk driving accident in Florida, the restaurant or bar must have:

  • Willfully and unlawfully served drinks to a person under 21 years of age; or
  • Known that the person is habitually addicted to alcoholic drinks.

This alone makes Florida’s dram shop laws different than laws in other states. Other states may mention laws concerning restaurants or bars serving alcohol to a person who is already intoxicated when they walk in the door.

Other states may also indicate that a restaurant or bar can be liable for over serving alcohol or continuing to serve alcohol to a person. The State of Florida does not mention this in its dram shop law.

What Can a Victim Recover for Drunk Driving Accident?

Much like a typical personal injury matter, the types of recovery include the following:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Lost wages and benefits from work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Compensation for damaged property such as the vehicle

Are you a victim of a drunk driving accident in the Fort Pierce area? Call Sholtes Law, the Treasure Coast Personal Injury Attorney.

If you or someone you love is the victim of a drunk driving accident, contact Andrew Sholtes with Sholtes Law, PLLC. Attorney Sholtes is an experienced Fort Pierce drunk driving accident lawyer serving St. Lucie & Martin County. He will handle your drunk driving accident claim and ensure you don’t settle for less than you deserve. Call 855-534-2509 for a complimentary case analysis today.


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