Overview of Florida’s Dram Shop Law

It is a sad reality that in many cases, a drunk driver is also a driver who either does not carry automobile insurance at all or has only the minimum coverage which is no where near enough to pay compensation to victims after the intoxicated driver causes serious injuries in a car accident.

What this means is that, unless he or she is independently wealthy or at least solidly in the upper middle class, a drunk driver is likely going to have no means of paying for the highly preventable losses he or she inflicts on other people. If the deriver is also charged in criminal court, they may also be facing a lengthy stint in jail and thus will be unable to work any of their debt off.

Aside from turning to one’s own insurance policy, there are ways a Tampa-area victim of a drunk driving crash can pursue compensation from other sources.

For instance, like other states, Florida has a Dram Shop Law which makes those who serve alcohol liable for accidents their customers cause under certain circumstances. Unfortunately, Florida’s law isn’t as broad as those in other states, but it at least offers the prospect of some additional relief to certain accident victims.

Specifically, a bartender or anyone else who provides alcohol to someone who is not of legal drinking age, whether for money or not, is potentially liable to pay compensation if that youth gets drunk and then causes a car accident.

However, the person who provided the alcohol has to have acted “willfully”, meaning he or she wasn’t just duped by a clever kid but actually had little regard for Florida’s drinking age. Likewise, a bartender can be held accountable if he or she sells alcohol to someone who is an alcoholic and prone to drunkenness, but, again, the bartender has to know what he or she is doing, at least to some extent.

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