The state of Florida sees more than its fair share of drunk driving accidents. Numerous people face injuries in such events every year. If you have fallen victim to a drunk driver, you probably already know you may seek compensation for any damages sustained by filing civil claims against the responsible party. Did you know you may also file claims against the establishment that over-served him or her? Dram shop laws allow for this.
Dram shop laws do exist in quite a few states, but each state has its own interpretation of the law. In Florida, dram shop laws are extremely strict. They will not apply to every drunk driving injury case, and even if they might apply, it can be difficult to convince the court that they should apply.
How to know if you should pursue a dram shop claim
The dram shop claims that are unsuccessful are the ones that lack some of the required legal elements. The basic elements that must exist in these cases include:
- Proof of alcohol sale to the defendant
- Proof that the defendant caused you harm
- Proof that the sale of alcohol directly contributed to your losses
Florida goes a little further and has added the following:
- Proof that the establishment in question served alcohol to a minor
- Proof that the defendant was knowingly over-served
- Proof that the defendant is a known addict
Obtaining the evidence needed to establish negligence on the part of the alcohol vendor is not an easy task — this does not mean that it is impossible, though.
You do not know until you ask
At the end of the day, dram shop laws allow victims of drunk driving accidents to seek further compensation for their losses outside of anything they may achieve by filing claims directly against the driver responsible. They also work to hold alcohol-serving establishments accountable if they do knowingly over-serve their patrons.
If you are not sure if dram shop laws apply to your injury case, it is okay. The good news is that this is not something you have to figure out on your own. By asking to have the finer details of your case reviewed and the establishment in question investigated, legal counsel can help you determine if pursuing such claims is appropriate.