Liability For Serving Alcohol
Drunk driving is a national problem that often results in criminal charges, personal injury and/or death. People who are injured in car accidents with drunk drivers are often left with extensive medical bills and other financial losses that sometimes exceed insurance coverage. In order to receive the compensation deserved, the injured person may sometimes have to seek compensation from other entities in addition to the person who caused the accident. Fortunately, there are laws in place to assist with this.
There are dram shop and social liability laws that impose civil liability on certain people or establishments that provide alcohol to people under the age of twenty one years old or to people who have had too much to drink. Under Georgia Code section 51-1-40 a person who willfully, knowingly and unlawfully sells alcohol to a person under the age of 21 may be liable for any injuries caused by that person due to intoxication. The dram shop law also applies if the bar sells alcohol to an adult who can legally consume alcohol if the person is visibly intoxicated. This is in line with most other states’ dram shop laws, however, Georgia laws also requires that the person selling the alcohol have knowledge that the person consuming the alcohol was going to drive a car before liability for a car accident can be imposed.
In Florida, the dram shop laws impose liability for selling alcohol to an underage person and also for selling alcohol to a person who is habitually addicted to the use of alcoholic beverages. Liability under this law for selling to an adult would be difficult to prove because it requires more than showing that the person served was visibly intoxicated. The injured person seeking compensation from the seller has to show the seller knew of the defendant’s addiction to alcohol.
Liability for providing alcohol to the people identified above can also be applied to social hosts. If a person throws a party for family and friends and alcohol is provided to visibly intoxicated guests, minors or to a person known to have a drinking problem, the person hosting the party may be held liable if the drunk person causes an car accident that causes injury or death.
Under both Florida and Georgia law, the seller of the alcohol may have a defense if the underage person presented identification showing him to be over the legal drinking age before the alcohol was sold to them. Establishments that hold liquor licenses are generally required to check identification to ensure they do not serve minors or a business could lose its license. Knowingly serving minors could also result in criminal liability.
Let Us Assist You
If you were injured by a driver who was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, you may be able to seek compensation from the driver and/or the person who provided the alcohol. Reach out to the experienced Jacksonville, Florida personal injury attorneys at Gillette Law, P.A. We can provide you with a consultation and assist you throughout each step of your case.