Florida’s Dram Shop Law and Car Accidents
According to Florida’s dram shop law, after an alcohol-related accident, an injured person can seek compensation for the loss from a third party which may include a liquor store owner, social store host, or bartender that sold the drinks to the person that has caused the accident. This law clearly states that any person who provides liquor or alcohol to an underage individual or an individual with an obvious drinking issue could be found responsible for any accident, loss, or injury that the person makes in an alcoholic state.
However, this law is not clear about the condition of liability of compensation for the alcohol dealer for an already intoxicated person. The difference between personal injury liability law and the dram shop law is that in the latter one, the third alcohol-related party is responsible for the damage, not the person that has injured you directly.
Compensations that Dram Shop Laws Allow
Florida’s dram shop law generally awards compensation in the following situations:
- Payment for all medical bills as a result of accident or injury including hospital expenses, rehabilitation costs, medication, surgery, emergency room care, and more.
- Compensation for the demolished property which may include damaged fencing, housing structures, and damaged vehicles
- Compensation for wages that are lost during or after an accident
- Pain and suffering caused by the accident
- Burial and funeral costs in the even that the accident involving alcohol resulted in a wrongful death
Time Limits for Dram Shop Claims
Dram shop claims for damages will always be considered civil claims. This means that they are filed by the person that was injured, or by their attorney, and the liability, or compensation, is expressed only in terms of monetary damages. Just like other types of personal injury claims in Florida, dram shop claims have a statute of limitations, or time limit, for being filed with the court. Florida laws require that these claims be filed within four years of the date in which the injury occurred. Failure to file your claim within this time limit will likely prevent you from filing a claim related to this accident ever again.
Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
Due to Florida’s dram shop laws, vendors who sell or serve alcoholic beverages may be found potentially liable if the person they served alcohol to later causes an accident. However, it is very hard to prove this liability as Florida laws state the vendor who served the alcohol did so willfully even though they knew they were serving the alcohol to a habitual drinker or a minor.
If either you or your loved one has been injured in an alcohol-related crash in Florida, then you may be entitled to pursue compensation from a third-party under Florida’s dram shop laws depending on the circumstances of the accident. The West Palm Beach auto accident attorneys at Pike & Lustig, LLP understand the dram shop laws and will review your accident and advise you of your legal options. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.