Establishments selling alcohol in Florida may not serve a patron known for his or her habitual drinking. If a server fails to follow Florida’s dram shop law, the establishment he or she works for could face liability for your injuries.
When a drunken motorist has caused you harm, you have a right to file a legal action against the driver. Oftentimes, a car insurance carrier settles a claim for an injured party’s medical expenses. You may pursue action against an establishment, however, if you can prove that a server knew the driver who caused you harm is either under 21 or a chronic drinker.
Proving an individual is “habitually addicted” to alcohol
The Sunshine State’s negligence statute under Section 768.125 requires showing the court a server knew a motorist is “habitually addicted” to alcohol. The statute, however, does not specify how many drinks define a habit. Because each individual processes alcohol differently, the number and frequency of drinks may not easily prove an addiction.
According to the Addiction Center, alcoholism occurs when an individual cannot stop drinking even when he or she wants to. Some individuals can also drink excessively without it affecting their ability to hold a job and function. To prove a habitual drinker caused your accident may require an investigation made through the court’s discovery process.
Serving patrons under the age of 21
When injuries occur because of a drunken motorist under the age of 21, you may file a lawsuit against the establishment that provided drinks to a minor.
If you have not yet turned 21, you may file a legal action against an establishment for serving you alcohol even if you caused your own crash. You may, for example, recover damages for hitting a tree after a server provided you alcoholic drinks in violation of Florida law.