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Naples, Florida

Can third parties be held liable for drunk driving accidents?

On Behalf of | Jul 6, 2018 | Drunk Driving

After having been involved in a drunk driving accident in Naples, you first question might be who would allow the person that caused your collision to not only become intoxicated, but then to drive? Oftentimes there may not only be one person that shares the burden of the blame in an accident. In the case of drunk driver, there is the person or party that allowed him or her to drive after drinking in the first place. After considering this, you may then whether you can hold such parties responsible for the injuries and damages you (and others) sustained in your accident? 

There are indeed that assign third-party liability in drunk driving cases. These are often referred to as “dram shop laws” or “social host laws.” Dram shop laws allow you to go after an establishment that serves drinks to an intoxicated patron, while a social host law may allow you to hold a private party responsible for serving alcohol to a guest at an event he or she was hosting. 

According to Section 768.125 of the Florida state statutes, the state does indeed have a vicarious liability law when it comes to drunk driving accidents. While it does absolve third parties from liability in such cases generally, it does stipulate certain scenarios where they may indeed be held responsible. The first is if they knowingly sell or furnish alcohol to a minor. An example of this might be a bar that serves a patron the bartender knows to be under the age of majority. The second is when alcohol is provided to one habitually addicted to alcoholic beverages. While the agents of an establishment may now know this about a patron, a social host may certainly know this about a person he or she views as being a friend.