Florida Underage Drunk Driving

Drunk driving laws exist for a reason – to protect passengers and drivers against devastating injuries due to drivers who are on the roads while under the influence. While drunk driving is a nationwide problem, it is particularly dangerous when young people are behind the wheel – and businesses and individuals can face consequences if they serve alcohol to teenagers and people under age 21.

Florida’s drunk driving law (also known as the dram shop law) allows the victims of drunk driving accidents to sue liquor-licensed companies, such as restaurants, bars or hotels, who knowingly serve alcohol to underage drinkers. If a bar does not ask for ID or ignores a blatantly fake ID card, they may share liability with a drunk teen who gets into a car crash after drinking at their establishment and causes injury or death.

In addition, parents of minors who knowingly serve alcohol can be on the hook if the teens drive drunk. While social hosts are not responsible if over-21 drinkers imbibe at their house, then get into a drunk driving accident, they can face penalties and may pay hefty damages in drunk-driving lawsuits involving teens.

Liquor stores generally do not face the strict liability imposed on social hosts and drinking establishments because they sell closed containers. If they sell a closed container to a minor who then leaves the premises, they are usually not responsible for injury, property damage or death related to a teenage drunk driving accident resulting from liquor bought at their store.

If you are thinking about filing a lawsuit against an establishment that served liquor to a minor, be prepared to find evidence to support your claim. Bank statements can reveal transactions at the bar in question, while video cameras can record negligent actions. These and other avenues should be explored by the experienced crime victim accident attorney you retain for your lawsuit.

The law is complex and often confusing – don’t go it alone if you’ve suffered property damage or injury due to a teenage drunk driving accident. Look for a Florida crime victim attorney with experience investigating and litigating Florida teenage drunk driving claims. He or she will be able to evaluate your case and tell you whether it’s worth pursuing in court. If your claim is convincing and well-documented, a jury can award you financial damages relating to calculable and non-calculable losses.