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Florida bar owners should know dram shop laws

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2023 | alcohol beverage law

There are many thriving pubs and restaurants along the Florida coast that include bar areas where patrons order alcoholic beverages. Especially during peak tourist seasons, having a liquor license is often crucial for boosting revenue. What if someone leaves a bar and causes a motor vehicle collision that results in injury or kills another person? Is the bar owner liable? The answer is found in Florida’s dram shop laws. 

A “dram shop” is a business establishment where alcohol is sold. Every state has dram shop laws, which govern commerce in dram shops, particularly regarding a shop owner’s responsibility if a patron is served alcohol, then causes an accident that results in injuries to someone else. In this state, there are several important factors that determine whether a dram shop owner is liable for damages when a customer who has consumed alcohol leaves the shop and causes a collision. 

Florida bar owners are not liable if a customer is age 21 or older 

The legal age for consuming alcohol in Florida is 21. Dram shop laws in this state basically say that a bar owner is not liable for damages that result from a collision that a patron has caused after drinking alcohol at the owner’s shop provided the customer was of lawful drinking age. If, however, the shop owner was aware that the patron in question had an alcohol addiction, dram shop laws provide for liability in such cases.  

A Florida dram shop owner might be liable for damages caused by a customer who has imbibed alcohol in the business, then left and caused a motor vehicle collision. Liability may exist if the patron was a minor or a young adult under age 21. Business owners who are currently facing legal problems regarding dram shop laws can discuss their cases with an experienced attorney who is well-versed in laws pertaining to the production, sale and import of alcohol in this state. 

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The foregoing was prepared as general information. It is not meant to provide legal advice granting any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel. If you have questions or require additional information regarding these or other related matters, please contact Malkin Law, P.A. This material may be considered attorney advertising under certain rules of professional conduct.