‘Tis the Seas-Sun: Florida’s Dram Shop Law Explained

With the official start to summer now here, people are spending more time at bars, beach clubs, nightclubs, campgrounds, casinos, and BBQs.  But what if someone oversells or overserves alcohol?  Can a restaurant, bar, or host at a private residence who provides alcohol be held liable for the costs of an alcohol-related accident?  

The field of liquor liability is of increasing importance.  Drunk driving accidents and alcohol-related injuries happen with alarming frequency.  Florida’s Dram Shop statute may operate to the benefit of innocent victims of accidents who were injured by drunk drivers.   

A successful Dram Shop claim may provide victims and their families with compensation since a venue can be held liable for monetary and non-monetary damages, including: 

  • Emergency room care, surgery, inpatient hospital stays, rehabilitation, and medications (past and future medical bills);
  • Loss of future earnings;
  • Permanent disfigurement or disability;
  • Pain and suffering; 
  • Property damage;
  • Diminished quality of life; and 
  • Other substantial damages in the event of a wrongful death.

Florida Statute Section 768.125 (Dram Shop) provides that persons and entities can be held liable for resulting damages and injuries caused to third parties.  The law focuses on a venue’s liability for serving alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 or the establishment knowingly providing alcohol to someone who is “habitually addicted” to alcohol.  

However, this law does not apply to social hosts who provide alcohol at private gatherings.  Hosts of parties cannot be held liable for injuries caused by drunk drivers unless they willingly and unlawfully provide alcohol to a minor.  If alcohol is given to or accessed by a person under 21 at a private gathering, the host or property owner can face fines, civil damages, and even criminal charges.  

What types of accidents does the statute cover?  In addition to drunk driving, which is 100% preventable, the law applies to other alcohol-related accidents where intoxication was the main cause, including slip and fall (premises liability), water sport, and workplace accidents. 

If you have questions about Florida’s Dram Shop law, contact us to receive the support, compensation, and representation you need.  In some cases, several parties could be negligent and named as defendants in a lawsuit.  Speak with the experienced personal injury accident attorneys at Glotzer & Kobren, P.A. by calling 561-361-8677.  There’s NO FEE unless WE WIN money for you.