Everyone knows that it is illegal to get behind the wheel of a car after consuming enough alcohol to impact your skill or mind-altering drugs. Not only is the illegality of impaired driving a cornerstone of driver’s education, but it is also the focus of public awareness campaigns and often a subplot in many popular forms of entertainment.
Despite knowing how dangerous drunk driving is, thousands of people do it every year in Florida. Some of them cause crashes that hurt or kill other people. Those hurt by drunk drivers or who lose a loved one in a drunk-driving crash can file a lawsuit against the driver. Civil litigation can help people cover medical expenses, lost wages and other costs from the crash.
However, drunk drivers may not have any assets worth claiming or may not have enough insurance coverage to fully reimburse the people they hurt. In that situation, people may consider pursuing a business for their contribution to the crash.
Florida’s dram shop laws pass some responsibility to business owners
If somebody wants to make money by serving alcohol, they have to obtain a liquor license and comply with Florida state laws. Failing to follow best practices when dispensing liquor to the public can open a business up to liability. Under Florida’s dram shop law, victims impacted by drunk driving in Florida can potentially take legal action against a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol.
If the business provided alcohol to a minor or if they continued serving someone already visibly under the influence of alcohol or with a known addiction to alcohol, they may have partial responsibility for the crash that resulted. The people affected by that crash could claim compensation by suing the business or by making a claim against their business insurance policy.
Restaurants and bars sometimes make bad choices about enforcing state alcohol service rules out of a desire for profit. Creating financial consequences for those decisions with a dram shop claim could deter the business from doing the same thing in the future.
Especially in cases where drunk driving claims a life, limited insurance coverage and the assets of someone going to prison may not be enough to compensate a family. Exploring all of your rights after a drunk driving crash in Florida can help you pursue justice.