When you’re enjoying a good time at the casino, you may decide to have a few drinks. After all, alcohol is easy to access when gambling.
Say you drink more than you should, though, and end up attempting to drive home only to be involved in an accident. Is the casino responsible?
While most establishments that serve alcohol would argue that people are responsible for their own actions, under Florida law there are some limited circumstances that could make an establishment such as a casino at least partially liable.
Learn more about how that works under Florida’s dram shop laws and social host liability guidelines.
What Are Florida’s Dram Shop Laws?
Dram shop laws are state statutes that work to impose liability on establishments that sell alcohol if they act in a negligent way. That may mean that an injured victim of a drunk driving crash can take action against a third party that provided the alcohol.
Florida has its own dram shop laws, but unlike other states, Florida does not hold any vendor, social host, or establishment that serves alcohol liable. The only exception to the law is if they serve alcohol to a minor or to someone the law considers to be habitually addicted to alcohol.
Florida has established that the law can only apply to vendors who knowingly serve to an underage person or to someone habitually addicted for immediate consumption.
This means that even third parties such as grocery or liquor stores have no liability under the law because they technically provide alcohol that is to be consumed at a later time.
It’s also important to note that under Florida law, social hosts are not responsible for damages or injuries that can result from serving alcohol to someone at a private event or party.
Even if the host knows that person has a problem with alcohol, they bear no liability if that person then chooses to drive and gets in a drunk driving accident.
Of course, a social host can face charges if they provide alcohol to a minor, but that penalty usually involves the loss of their driver’s license for a time.
Compensation in Dram Shop Cases
Just because Florida law may make it tricky to sue for damages, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. These cases are a lot like personal injury liability lawsuits except that a third party is sued for damages related to alcohol.
The damages recovered in these types of cases typically include compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Destroyed property
- Pain and suffering
A victim has four years after the date of the accident to bring a suit against a third party for damages in a DUI accident. After that, the statute of limitations will be expired and no lawsuits related to the incident can be brought forward.
That is simply a general timeline, though. If you think you have a case and would like to file a lawsuit, it’s always in your best interest to consult an attorney as soon as possible.
An accident involving alcohol can be devastating for everyone involved, including third parties. But if you’re living it up at the casino and have too much to drink, chances are that the liability rests solely with you for choosing to drink and operate the vehicle, leaving the casino free of charges related to your accident.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.