When a drunk driver causes a crash, the police officers responding to the scene of the collision usually assign fault to the drunk driver. Even if the other driver made a mistake, like not using their blinker, the impairment of the drunk driver was likely the primary contributing factor to the crash.
Most people hurt by a drunk driver have the option of taking legal action against that person. However, there may be situations in which that isn’t the right solution for the victim of a drunk driver. Perhaps the drunk driver passed away because of the injuries they suffered in the crash. Maybe they had very few assets and now face incarceration, meaning you won’t be able to get any money from them if you sue them.
In scenarios where a drunk driver does not have resources to compensate the victim or where their resources fall short of offsetting the damage they caused, the victims of the crash may need to look elsewhere for compensation.
The Florida dram shop laws protect people from drunk drivers
People who get behind the wheel while drunk make a decision that they know breaks the law and endangers others. They should get held responsible for the damages they cause. However, it is often the case that other people contribute to or enable drunk driving.
Social hosts who provide alcohol to minors, for example, can face civil lawsuits if those drunk drivers cause injury or property damage for others. Businesses that over-serve someone could potentially also get held accountable under dram shop laws. Provided that they serve someone who was visibly intoxicated or someone known to workers as having an alcohol issue, the victims of a crash caused by that over-served customer could hold the business responsible for violating state law.
Financial penalties can sometimes be the best deterrent
While state law does limit how much alcohol a business should serve someone, companies will violate these rules because they stand to make a profit. Someone who habitually drinks too much might come into a bar and spend $40 or $60 every day. Even a one-time customer who overconsumes might spend a significant amount settling their tab and tipping wait staff.
The company itself may have a policy of continuing to serve those who are drunk, or wait staff might make the decision to keep serving someone because they want a bigger tip. By taking legal action against a restaurant or bar that overserves someone, those injured by drunk drivers can help deter that business and other companies from irresponsible policies when it comes to serving alcohol to the public. Financial penalties are often the only risk that outweighs financial gain.