Drunk Driving Accidents: Can the Server of Alcohol be Sued?

Merryl Haber, Attorney at LawWe are frequently asked if there can be liability for serving alcohol to someone who causes a drunk driving accident. Florida law provides that one who sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person of lawful drinking age is generally not liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such person.  This is true whether the alcohol is supplied by a social host at a party or by a commercial business, such as a bar or restaurant.

There are two major exceptions to this general rule.  “Willfully” selling or furnishing alcoholic beverages to someone under the legal drinking age creates liability for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of the minor.  The same holds true for “knowingly” serving or furnishing someone who is “habitually addicted” to alcoholic beverages.  Section 768.125, Florida Statutes.  Regardless, a commercial vendor is not generally liable if alcohol is sold to an adult in a closed container with the understanding that it will not be consumed on the premises.

Significantly, Florida law does not provide a cause of action for simply serving an adult too much alcohol.  Section 768.125 provides protection unless the person served is a minor or is known to be “habitually addicted” to alcohol.  Obviously, a responsible social host or business should make every reasonable effort to watch a guest’s level of alcohol consumption — regardless of 768.125.

It is important to know your rights.  If you or someone you know has been injured due to a drunk driver, the experienced attorneys at Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith are here to help.  We have handled many serious drunk driving accidents. Contact us for a free consultation.

Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith- Personal Injury Attorneys since 1927, serving West Palm Beach, Boca Raton and Stuart. Please call our office at 561-655-2028.

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