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Coral Springs & Parkland Injury Lawyers > Blog > Car Accident > Understanding Dram Shop Laws In Florida

Understanding Dram Shop Laws In Florida


Most people assume that only the drunk driver can be held liable for the accident when a drunk driving accident occurs. This is not always the case. There are states, Florida included, that have adopted laws, known as “dram shop” laws, that allow a drunk driving accident victim to seek compensation from a third party.

What Are Dram Shop Laws?

Dram shop laws impose liability on alcohol vendors for the negligent acts of their drunk customers. These laws allow a drunk driving accident victim to take legal action against a third party, such as a bar, that sold alcohol to the drunk driver that injured them. The name “dram shop” is an eighteenth-century term referring to alcohol sold by a unit of measure called a “dram.” A dram shop is simply an establishment, such as a bar, where alcoholic beverages are sold. Currently, most states have adopted dram shop laws.

Understand Dram Shop Laws in Florida

Florida’s dram shop law is codified under Florida statute 768.125 (Liability for injury or damage resulting from intoxication). According to this statute, if an alcohol vendor willfully and unlawfully provides alcohol to an individual who is below the age of twenty-one or a person “habitually addicted” to alcohol, that alcohol vendor shall be held liable for injury or loss caused by the intoxication of such an individual.

It is crucial to note that, unlike other states, Florida does not hold an alcohol vendor liable for providing alcohol to an individual who is visibly intoxicated.

Statute of Limitations and Compensation

If a drunk driver injured you, you generally have up to four years after the date of your injury to file a dram shop claim against a bar or another alcohol vendor. Filing a dram shop claim after the statute of limitations on your case has expired will most likely lead to your claim being dismissed.

After filing a dram shop claim, the damages you will recover will depend entirely on your case’s specifics. However, you can seek compensation for different damages, including the following;

  • Medical expenses, including the costs of hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, emergency care, and medication
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Costs for destroyed or damaged property

Social Host Liability

Social host liability is a concept that attaches liability to a host of a gathering or party in some circumstances where an intoxicated guest causes an accident that causes injury or death to a third party. In Florida, however, a social host cannot be held responsible for injuries and damages caused by an intoxicated guest of lawful drinking age, even if the social host knew that the guest is “habitually addicted” to alcohol. However, if a social host willfully and unlawfully gives alcohol to a person who is not of lawful drinking age, they may be held liable for injury or damage caused by the intoxication of such a person. If a host gives alcohol to a person below the age of twenty-one at a party or gathering, they can face fines, criminal charges, and even civil damages.

Contact a Plantation Car Accident Lawyer

If you were in a Florida drunk driving accident, contact an experienced Plantation car accident lawyer at Lyons & Snyder today. We can help you understand everything there is to know about Florida’s dram shop law and recover the compensation you deserve.


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