The answer is ‘maybe.’ Under Florida Law a bar is only liable for injury or damage that results from intoxication if it furnished alcoholic beverages to a person who is under the legal drinking age or someone who is known to them as a person habitually addicted to alcohol. These laws are called Dram Shop laws and currently forty-two states and Washington D.C. have these laws that impose liability on sellers of alcoholic beverages for the negligent acts of their intoxicated customers. These laws allow for injured victims of a drunk-driving accident to potentially recover from a third party, such as a bar.
These laws could even allow the drunk driver or his family to recover against the bar. Just ask Tiger Woods who is being sued by the family of a twenty-four year old man who worked as a bartender at an establishment he owned. The allegations are that this bartender was known to be an alcoholic by the other employees. Despite this knowledge, the young man was served by another bartender for three hours after his shift had ended. It is alleged that this person could barely walk. He then got behind the wheel of his Corvette and began to drive when he apparently lost control, crashed, and was killed. The mother of this young man has filed a wrongful death case against Tiger Woods’ establishment. They hope that this will put his bar and others on notice of their potential liability for serving alcohol to someone to the point that they are impaired, cannot drive safely, and therefore create a situation where they are a danger to themselves and others. This establishment, where the alcohol was served, could ultimately be held accountable.
If you or a loved one are injured as a result of an accident involving an intoxicated driver you should immediately contact a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who specializes in injury cases so that your rights can be fully protected.