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Does Florida Have a Dram Shop Law?


All states have laws in place that allow someone injured by a drunk driver to collect compensation for their injuries and physical damages. Many states go even further and allow a victim to recover financial compensation from a third party, the party who supplied the alcohol. Years ago, alcohol was sold in “drams,” a unit of measure. Dram shop laws are the laws that govern the sale of alcohol. Not surprisingly, people who have been injured by a drunk driver in Florida want to know if the state has its own dram shop law that will apply.

If you were injured in a collision due to a drunk driver, it’s important to contact an Orlando auto accident attorney who can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Here’s what you need to know about third-party liability in regard to drunk driving accidents in Florida.

Florida Dram Shop Law

Florida’s dram shop law won’t hold most people accountable for selling alcohol to someone who subsequently injures another person in a DUI-related accident. There are only two times where someone can be held liable in Florida under the dram shop law. The first is when someone sells or furnishes alcohol to someone who is not of lawful drinking age. The second is when a person knowingly serves someone else who is “habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages.” In these two situations, the third party could be liable for injury and/or damage caused by the person’s or minor’s intoxication.

There are also additional legal requirements to hold a third-party liable under one of these two scenarios. The first is that the bar or establishment had to act “willfully” when it served a minor alcohol. Basically, it means the person needed to know what they were doing to some extent.

If the minor had a convincing fake ID, it may not establish willful conduct. If the establishment knows an adult is buying the alcohol with the intention of serving to a minor, they could be liable. When it comes to habitually addicted persons, there is the element that they must know the person has a history of alcohol abuse.

Some states go one step further and hold a vendor, establishment, or even a social host responsible for someone who already appears to be intoxicated. In states that hold social hosts responsible, they could be held liable for serving someone alcohol at a private event or party. However, in Florida, the dram shop law doesn’t hold social hosts liable even if the host knows the person is “habitually addicted.”

Penalties for Dram Shop Law Violations

Penalties for violating Florida’s dram shop law can extend beyond just your right to sue a third-party. There could be criminal penalties involved. The social host who serves alcohol to a minor may not be liable under dram shop laws, but they could have their driver’s license suspended for providing alcohol to a minor. A vendor could lose their liquor license and/or be fined.

Contact an Orlando Auto Accident Attorney Today

If you were injured by a drunk driver, don’t attempt to pursue compensation on your own. Let a knowledgeable Orlando auto accident attorney help. Contact the Payer Law today to schedule an initial consultation.


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