Drunk drivers are a perennial problem for all of us, especially those injured by their negligence. It is a double tragedy that such drivers cause injury and then often have no insurance to compensate injured people. As a personal injury attorney, the most difficult duty a have is to advise people that they have no source of compensation for their injury. Please protect yourself by buying underinsured motorist coverage.
In very limited situations (too limited in my opinion) an inured person may recover has damages from the seller of the alcohol that in effect caused the accident. This area of the law has traditionally been called: “Dram Shop Litigation”. Florida has preempted the common law on this issue with Florida Statute 768.125, called the Dram Shop Law. In most cases this “bar friendly” statute provides immunity for the seller of alcohol.
Only in two limited situations can an injured victim seek relief: 1.) If the bar willfully serves a minor (under 21); or if the bar knowingly serves a person habitually addicted to alcohol. It should be obvious that proving such a case would be difficult and that the statute clearly allows bars to over serve most intoxicated patrons with absolute immunity. A change in that law is long overdue.
What about a social host that over serves at a party, and a drunken guest causes injury? There is no civil liability in Florida for this. Sad but true.