A Florida jury found two establishments jointly liable for more than $30 million in damages after serving a pair of underage individuals alcohol. One of the establishments, a popular restaurant chain, provided an underage employee with drinks before he drove away from the premises.
The employee then crashed into a high school senior crossing the street. As reported by Fox 13 Tampa Bay, the hit-and-run incident left the young woman with a catastrophic brain injury. The crash tragically altered the former cheerleader’s life.
Damage awards cover medical expenses and can also serve as punishment
Because of the forceful impact and the traumatic injury it caused, the young woman can no longer walk or speak as before. She lives in a care center and requires full-time assistance. The jury’s award provides compensation for the extensive lifetime medical care she needs.
The court determined that two separate establishments breached Florida law by serving alcohol to both the injured woman and the driver who hit her. When a jury reaches a substantially large verdict, its purpose is to hold establishments accountable for breaking the law and causing devastating harm. A large jury award also sends a message to other businesses in the community; they must ensure that their servers do not provide alcohol to minors.
Bars and restaurants can face liability suits and other consequences
As noted by American Addiction Centers, an establishment not only faces liability for damages, it can lose its liquor license by serving patrons under the age of 21. Because restaurant and bar employees owe a duty of care to check identification cards before serving alcohol, harm caused by not doing so typically results in serious consequences.