Drunk driving is an irresponsible and preventable type of reckless driving, and it can greatly increase the chance of a Florida driver causing an accident. If you are the victim of this type of accident, you may wonder who is to blame and how you can move forward to protect your rights. One important step in the process of securing the right type of recovery is determining who is liable for your pain and suffering.
Of course, the person who made the choice to consume alcohol and then operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is responsible for damages, but there may be other parties to blame as well. According to the principle of dram shop liability, in limited circumstances, an establishment may be responsible for serving certain types of customers who then cause an accident. This concept could play an important role in a potential civil claim you file.
Who or what is really to blame?
In addition to the driver of the vehicle, it is possible the establishment that sold him or her the alcohol could be also be to blame for an accident. A dram shop is any establishment that sells alcohol, including restaurants or liquor stores. Cases in which dram shop liability is a viable factor, it is possible that you could pursue damages from both the driver of the vehicle, as well as the establishment that inappropriately served alcohol to that person.
It is not always easy to establish dram shop liability. In fact, it can be quite difficult. In Florida, the concept of dram shop liability is only applicable in cases pertaining to the following:
- A restaurant, liquor store or other establishment sold alcohol to a minor driver who caused an accident.
- Someone served alcohol to a person who is a known alcoholic, who then caused a drunk driving collision.
Clearly establishing the liability of the person or establishment that served the driver can be quite difficult, but a careful review of your case may reveal your specific options. Through a personal injury claim that names all liable parties, you may be able to secure compensation for your medical bills and accident-related financial losses, as well as punitive damages you suffered.
Holding the appropriate parties accountable after a drunk driving accident is important, yet it is not always easy to immediately identify all parties. It is in your interests to seek a complete evaluation of your case in order to fully understand your options regarding a civil claim.