A man in New Jersey is suing two bars he alleged served him alcohol in the hours before he was involved in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident in which he was seriously injured. According to news reports, the 28-year-old plaintiff alleges he was downing Tequila at two local bars, and left both sites intoxicated. Around 3:20 a.m., upon leaving the second site, he reportedly crashed his motorcycle, suffering a severe leg injury. His blood-alcohol level was below the 0.08 threshold, but he claims he was still impaired (an instance our own Florida law recognizes as possible in F.S. 316.193). Further, he says his breath-alcohol test wasn’t given until several hours after the crash. His criminal charge was dismissed.
There are of course many people who take the stance that drunk drivers deserve what they get. We won’t dispute that in some cases, but as drunk driving accident lawyers, we used this example to point out the viability of such a claim here in the Sunshine State. Based on the facts we know of this case, it would not succeed in Florida – and not because drunk drivers can’t sue for injuries. They can, but only in limited circumstances. The same in fact is true of drunk driving accident victims when it comes to third parties.
It all comes down to Florida’s dram shop law, found in F.S. 768.125. A dram shop law is the avenue through which drunk driving accident victims (including, in some cases, the driver) can seek damages from the bar, restaurant or vendor that served alcohol to the drunk driver. Continue reading →