Throughout Miami and other areas of Florida, bistros are popular among tourists and full-time residents, alike. Many of these establishments serve alcohol. One business was ordered to pay $95 million in damages in one of the largest car accident verdicts ever. The judge ruled that the business was negligent for continuing to serve alcohol to a severely intoxicated patron.
Considering Florida’s dram shop laws, it’s logical to assume that the bistro owners might appeal the ruling. By law, businesses serving alcohol in this state can only be held liable for damages in specific circumstances. An example would be if evidence showed that the business in question served alcohol to a minor, which is illegal. Liability may also exist if a bar or restaurant were to serve alcohol to a customer with an alcohol addiction.
A 22-year-old patron caused a fatal collision
The recent ruling was handed down in a case where a bistro patron left the establishment after getting drunk, then caused a head-on collision that resulted in a fatality, as well as catastrophic injuries to another person. A set of parents had been traveling with their son and daughter, who was on her way to the airport to catch a flight to medical school. The daughter did not survive the crash that occurred when the 22-year-old driver entered the wrong way on the highway and was driving without headlights on.
Dram shop laws exist for a reason
A business owner can only be held liable for damages if actions were taken that violate Florida dram shop laws. Florida code §768.125 states that a person who sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person of lawful drinking age is not liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from that person’s intoxication, though there are exceptions. It remains to be seen if the recent court ruling will be appealed, and what the ultimate outcome of the litigation will be.