Drunk driving accidents happen all too often in the state of Florida. If you’ve suffered injuries in one, you may have a lot of questions regarding your right to seek compensation for your losses and from whom. For instance, you know that the driver who hit you had just left a bar and now you want to know if you can sue the establishment for damages.
Dram shop laws do allow those injured in drunk driving accidents to sue establishments that sell alcohol. Every state is different in how they interpret the law though. Florida is pretty strict when it comes to pursing relief through dram shop claims.
Dram shop basics
As previously stated, dram shop claims pursued in the civil court system can allow DUI victims or their family members to seek relief by filing claims against bars or other alcohol vendors. In general, for a dram shop claim to be successful the following elements must be established to the satisfaction of the court:
- Sale of alcohol to patron occurred
- Patron caused injury to self or others
- Reason to believe sale of alcohol contributed to the injury
These are the general guidelines. Florida expands on these elements by adding a few of its own. One being the patron served alcohol was a minor or:
- The patron was obviously drunk but still served anyway
- The patron is a known alcohol addict
Adding these extra requirements actually makes it far more difficult to sue an alcohol vendor for compensation.
To go for it or not
It is impossible to know if a dram shop claim applies to your case without doing a little investigative work. While dram shop claims are rarely successful in Florida due to cases missing some of the certain required elements, you won’t know if your case will be the one to which dram shop laws apply unless you ask. If they do, with the assistance of legal counsel you can file the appropriate claim in court.
Even if dram shop laws do not apply to your case, it does not mean that all hope for seeking compensation following an accident with a drunk driver is lost. You may still be entitled to pursue a personal injury claim in an effort to seek monetary relief for any and all economic and non-economic damages that the state deems recoverable.