The business of serving alcohol can be a tricky business, especially when it comes to vendor liquor liability. Anytime you serve alcohol, there is an inherent risk that something could go wrong. Alcohol can impair judgment and cause some to make decisions that they may not otherwise make if they had remained sober. Therefore, it’s important to know the laws surrounding liquor liability, and the responsibilities that come along with being a vendor or server of alcohol in order to protect yourself from the harm and liability of an alcohol-related accident.
Vendor Liquor Liability Law in Florida
In the state of Florida, there is a law set in place that is referred to as the Dram Shop Act. The Dram Shop Act is a case law that makes a business that sells alcohol, such as a bar or restaurant, liable to anyone who is injured by a drunken patron or guest from that establishment. Meaning, an injured person can seek compensation from a third party that served alcohol to someone who caused an alcohol-related accident.
While the act varies by state, in Florida, an establishment can be held liable if they willfully and unlawfully serve alcohol to a minor, or if they knowingly serve alcohol to someone who is “habitually addicted.”
Florida law also allows alcohol-addicted people to use the Dram Shop Law to seek damages themselves from vendors who may have knowingly served them.
Responsible Vendor Act
Vendors of alcohol have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for all to enjoy. In the state of Florida, vendors should provide a course of instruction for all employees and management that includes subjects dealing with controlled substances. This course should cover topics related to the effects of alcohol, methods of dealing with underage customers, and laws governing the sale of alcohol.
Additionally, there should be employee meetings every four months to go over updates to laws, and review safe serving methods, and signs should be clearly posted on site that state that alcohol will not be served to underage or clearly intoxicated patrons. If an establishment provides this in-depth instruction, they can qualify as a “responsible vendor” to safeguard themselves against criminal liability and losing their liquor license.
Social Hosts and Alcohol
If you are hosting an event at your home and serving alcohol, the Dram Shop Act does not apply to you in the state of Florida, although it might in other states. However, you still do have an obligation to not serve alcohol to minors, which may result in criminal charges.
If someone is injured on your property due to alcohol consumption, such as an intoxicated person slips and falls, you may be held liable in a premises liability case if there was an unreasonably dangerous condition on your property, independent of the alcohol.
Serving and consuming alcohol can open the door to many risks and liabilities. Under no circumstance should anyone be drinking and driving, and as a host of an event where there is alcohol, you should always use good judgment when serving others.
If you feel that you have suffered serious injuries due to the negligence of someone else when it comes to the serving or consumption of alcohol, you should contact a personal injury attorney. You may be eligible to seek financial recovery for the damages you incurred.
Legal Dictionary – Law.com. (n.d.). Retrieved November 09, 2017, from http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=584
Ryskamp, D. A. (n.d.). Dram Shop Laws and Social Host Liability for Alcohol-Related Accidents in Florida. Retrieved November 09, 2017, from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/dram-shop-laws-social-host-liability-alcohol-related-accidents-florida.html
(2017, November 09). Retrieved November 09, 2017, from http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799%2F0768%2FSections%2F0768.125.html
(2017, November 09). Retrieved November 09, 2017, from http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0500-0599%2F0561%2FSections%2F0561.705.html
Florida Responsible Vendor Training. (n.d.). Retrieved November 09, 2017, from http://www.sellerserver.com/Florida/responsible-vendor-training.html