When an establishment with a liquor license sells alcohol to a person who after consuming it hurts another person, they could be held liable for the injuries. This is predominantly seen in cases of underage consumption of alcohol. However, if the person is habitually addicted or a known drunkard this type of liability may still apply. Such cases are frequently much harder to prove in comparison to an underage case. When a person incurs a severe injury because of an underage intoxicated individual, they may benefit from consulting a Boynton Beach dram shop accident liability lawyer who is familiar with this area of law.
Medical care is frequently expensive and any property damage that may have occurred in the incident could be quite costly. A shrewd injury attorney who is skilled in premises liability could help determine liability and potentially find a way to collect compensation that may alleviate financial pressure from such an accident.
Understanding the Dram Act
The Dram Shop Act is a fancy way of saying liquor liability. If a person serves another person alcohol and that person goes out and hurts someone, then the serving establishment may be responsible for those injuries. In other words, a customer goes in, gets drunk, goes out, hits somebody with their car. Obviously, the driver of the car is responsible for hitting the person, but the bar could be responsible for serving that person. That is dram shop liability in a nutshell.
In Florida, there are some restrictive dram shop liability laws. One way a serving establishment could be liable for the injuries that ensue from a patron going out and hurting somebody is when the patron is a known drunkard, known as a person who is habitually addicted to alcohol or is a minor. Typically, if someone goes into a bar and excessively consumes alcohol and then goes out and kills somebody because that person was an adult and not a minor, the bar is typically not going to be on the hook.
However, if that a person goes into the same pub every night and consistently consumes alcohol to excess every day for years and then goes out and kills another person, it is possible that the bar could be held responsible as they were aware or should have known that the individual was addicted to alcohol. Generally, this is how dram shop liability on a serving establishment in Florida could be applied in a lawsuit. Proving such a case in Florida could be difficult as it is a pro-tourist state.
Determining Liable Parties Under the Dram Shop Act
While the person who caused the accident may be held responsible, the serving establishment could also be accountable. In most cases, the server would be covered under an insurance plan or be covered under the umbrella of the employer, the bar, or restaurant.
Prior to contacting a serving establishment about an incident, a person may want to speak with a Boynton Beach dram shop accident liability lawyer to assess potential options and strategies. This could significantly improve an individuals chance of succeeding in court.
Potential Damages May Apply
When a person is intoxicated and they experience an accident that results in injuries, the process for collecting damages or compensation could become complicated. Additionally, if a person shares a percentage of fault in causing the incident they may not be eligible to collect compensation. In many cases, it is difficult for an injured person to go back against the bar that served them the alcohol because they chose to consume the drink. There is generally no obligation on the part of the serving establishment to stop serving them. Typically for a person to be excluded from damages, they share more than 50 percent of the fault.
Establishing Liability in a Dram Shop Accident Case
Establishing liability under this lens typically refers to the injured party who gets hurt by an intoxicated person and is attempting to seek compensation from the place that served the alcohol. The injured person who was harmed by an intoxicated person may need to prove that the serving establishment knew the alleged individual had an alcohol addiction or that the accused was an underage person before allowing them to consume the alcohol. However, it is important to consider that the mere fact that someone goes in and gets drunk at a restaurant or bar does not always make the serving establishment liable. In a tourism state like Florida, restaurants, and bars want to sell as many drinks as possible. This is why a person may want to contact an attorney if they are charged with such an offense.
Consulting a Boynton Beach Dram Shop Accident Liability Attorney
Before accepting the expensive medical bills and property damage costs from an accident that resulted from the actions of an intoxicated person, schedule a meeting with a Boynton Beach dram shop accident liability lawyer. They could help identify potential ways of establishing liability and may possibly provide legal representation in court. Communicating with an insurance company or an opposing attorney may be a stressful and frustrating process, however, a dedicated injury lawyer could lessen the strain by helping to streamline the process.