Liquor and Bar Liability

All too often, alcohol is the reason that you or a loved one suffered a severe or catastrophic personal injury.

Like most states, Florida has powerful liquor liability laws that, in many cases, shield alcohol providers from liability arising from their service of alcohol. But that does not mean bars, restaurants, and other alcohol-serving establishments are free of responsibility.

 

On the contrary, liquor liability laws in Florida—also known as dram shop laws, here and across the country—often contain strict service requirements and restrict the over-serving of alcohol to ensure patrons are served safely. These alcohol liability laws protect patrons like you and are meant to help reduce alcohol-related injuries. When they’re ignored, the results can be catastrophic.

If you or a loved one was seriously injured because an establishment did not uphold Florida’s liquor liability laws, you need an experienced and creative attorney who is well-versed in alcohol liability law—not just another “personal injury” attorney—to get you the compensation you deserve. The attorneys at Mase Mebane in Miami have recovered millions of dollars for clients who injured because of the failure to follow over-serving of alcohol laws at bars, restaurants, or events. Contact us today for a free consultation to see if you have a viable claim based on over-service of alcohol.

What are Dram Shop Laws?

Since the repeal of Prohibition, states have significant power to regulate alcohol. Florida, like most states, has dram shop laws that allow those injured by the over-service of alcohol to bring civil lawsuits, but they significantly reduce the circumstances in which alcohol providers are liable for their service of alcohol. Dram shop laws are named after establishments in 18th-century England that sold gin by the spoonful, called a “dram.” These laws express a policy choice that the drinker, not the bar, is responsible for what happens as a result of over-drinking.

In Florida, dram shop laws state that an alcohol provider is liable for injuries or damages that result from the over-service of alcohol if the provider:

  • Willfully and unlawfully sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to an underage individual; or
  • Knowingly serves a person habitually addicted to alcohol.

If there is evidence that the drinker was an alcoholic or under 21 years old, and the establishment knew and served them, then that establishment is breaking Florida’s liquor liability laws and can be held liable for the consequences of their decision to serve alcohol to those individuals. The trial lawyers at Mase Mebane have successfully represented clients in South Florida seeking to hold alcohol providers liable for such improper service of alcohol.

Responsible Florida alcohol providers uphold alcohol liability laws and prevent underage alcohol consumption, over-service, and service to alcoholics by:

  • Properly training employees to spot intoxicated individuals
  • Having multiple procedures for checking identification, such as black lights or scanners
  • Measuring alcohol before preparing drinks
  • Keeping count of how many drinks patrons are served
  • Offering food to patrons
  • Offering water between drinks

These are only a few examples of responsible service practices that help establishments adhere to Florida’s liquor liability laws. Despite the simplicity of many of these actions, not all establishments do what’s needed to avoid breaking the law. If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of an alcohol vendor in Miami, South Florida, or elsewhere in Florida, call us. We are here to help you obtain justice when dram shop laws are ignored.

How Can I Sue for Underage Alcohol Service?

Our attorneys have successfully represented individuals in bringing claims against establishments that served alcohol to individuals under the age of 21. We represented an underage college student who was over-served alcohol at an all-you-can-drink “college night”-themed event at a South Florida bar. He left on foot and was hit by a car while trying to cross a dark street in the early morning hours. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and catastrophic, life-altering physical injuries. We sued the bar and used social media posts to find evidence proving it had a pattern of marketing to, serving, and turning a blind eye to underage college students on “college night.” The bar and its insurers settled for $11 million, the limits of the bar’s insurance policy. The attorneys at Mase Mebane were able to get our client the compensation he needed for his future medical care. Click here to read more about our results.

In another Florida liquor liability law case, we represented a young man who was involved in a motorcycle crash in Key West after being served alcohol at a work holiday party. His employer knew our client was only 20 years old but allowed him to drink several beers anyway. After leaving the event, he crashed his motorcycle, suffering severe physical injuries. The defendant settled for $2.75 million. Click here to read more about our results.

If you or an underage family member was served alcohol and injured, the Florida liquor liability law attorneys at Mase Mebane are here to help. Call us today for a free consultation and learn how we can get you the compensation you deserve.