Alcohol is frequently at the center of “house parties” and other private social gatherings in Florida.
According to Florida’s alcohol liability laws, private social hosts are generally not responsible for injuries that result from their guests’ consumption of alcohol. However, if an underage guest is served, the rules are different. In Florida, liquor liability laws state that homeowners and party hosts have a duty to ensure that underage individuals don’t drink alcohol at house parties. If they fail to do so, they face both criminal and civil liability.
Florida Statute § 856.015 makes it a crime to let anyone under 21 years of age drink alcohol at a party if:
- The party host had control over a residence;
- The host allowed a party to take place at the residence;
- Drugs or alcohol were consumed by underage individuals;
- While in control of the residence, the host knew of the underage consumption; and
- Despite knowing that underage individuals were consuming alcohol or drugs, the host failed to take reasonable steps to prevent consumption.
This Florida statute can be used to prove civil liability as well under the doctrine of negligence per se. Negligence per se occurs when a person or business violates a criminal statute that is designed to protect a certain class of people, and the plaintiff is a member of that class. For example, the Florida “Open House Party” statute is designed to protect underage individuals from the harm they could do to themselves or others as a consequence of drinking alcohol. When negligence per se is proven, the person or business that served the alcohol is in violation of Florida’s liquor liability laws and, as a result, liable for any resulting injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured because someone improperly served alcohol, you may have a claim for all the resulting damages. The attorneys at Mase Mebane Seitz in Miami, Florida, have the expertise necessary to handle your liquor liability law claim and recover the compensation you deserve. Call us today.Back to Liquor and Bar Liability